EU and Congo assess progress towards timber legality verification and other VPA goals

The Republic of the Congo and the European Union held the sixth meeting of their Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) Joint Implementation Committee (JIC) in Brazzaville on 17 and 22 May 2017.

Congo’s Minister, Rosalie Matondo, and Ambassador Saskia de Lang, head of the EU delegation. by APV-FLEGT CONGO

The JIC reviewed the progress in VPA implementation since its last meeting in December 2016. Points discussed included:

  • Progress towards finalisation of the draft text of the Republic of the Congo’s forestry law and its implementing texts
  • Deployment of the software — called SIVL — for legality verification and traceability, whose development was completed in December 2016
  • Finalisation of procedures for verifying legality, which the ministry of forestry expects to have validated by the end of June 2017
  • Finalisation of a manual for the treatment of non-compliances in exploitation of natural forests — which the ministry of forestry expects to publish in July 2017

The meeting also included presentations on the work of the civil society independent forest monitor, in particular, on concession allocation and deforestation permits, and the work of the independent auditor, on mapping of risks of illegality in the forestry sector.

The JIC welcomed the re-opening of the Republic of the Congo’s VPA website which had been offline since November 2016, and the launch of a Facebook page. Both sites will help stakeholders to follow activities taking place within the framework of the VPA.

The aide-memoire of the meeting is available in French. The next JIC meeting is planned for 8-9 November 2017.

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