Honduras and the EU test landmark forest agreement on the ground
Honduras has moved a step closer towards concluding a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union (EU) after completing a significant milestone in the negotiation process. Known as field testing, this phase enables stakeholders to evaluate progress and make recommendations for the successful completion of the Agreement.
For two weeks in October, representatives from government, civil society organisations, indigenous peoples’ groups and the private sector travelled to different regions across the country. They gathered views of approximately 200 stakeholders, who assessed the main sections of the VPA. These include the agreed definition of legal timber and the proposed timber legality assurance system, which verify that timber products conform with national and international laws. Following the field testing phase, Honduras stakeholders are now working to incorporate the evidence gathered and further enhance the VPA.
Honduras has made substantial progress on its VPA since negotiations began in 2013. The VPA aims to address the illegal trade of timber. Once signed, the Agreement will commit both parties to ensure that only legal timber can be traded domestically in Honduras and imported into the EU market.