EU and Central African Republic assess progress towards restart of support to VPA implementation

The Central African Republic and the European Union held the third meeting of their Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) Joint Implementation Committee (JIC) in Brazzaville on 7-9 December 2016.

3rd JIC December 2016
The JIC established a state of play of the current situation in the country to prepare the conditions to resume VPA implementation, which had been put on hold during a political and military crisis in the country. It allowed a dialogue to outline priorities and next steps. Points discussed included:
Consensus on expectations around the mobilisation of the funding agreement that the EU and the Central African Republic signed in 2012, including changing the main objective from FLEGT licensing to developing a legality assurance system
Inclusion of representatives of indigenous peoples in the JIC
An update and reorganisation of the contracts and activities under the funding agreement
Presentation and approval of the 2015 VPA annual report
The meeting also included a discussion on better law enforcement, particularly to advance the development of specific legality grids to address artisanal permits and to illegal chainsaw logging.
The JIC welcomed the renewed support of the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme in the Central African Republic. Activities will focus on implementation of commitments in the VPA’s transparency annex implementation and on development of a VPA website to make information publicly available. 
The aide-memoire of the meeting is available in French. The next JIC meeting is planned for October 2017.