Republic of the Congo and EU take stock of progress in VPA implementation
The Republic of the Congo and the European Union held the fourth meeting of their Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) Joint Implementation Committee (JIC) in Brazzaville on 22-23 June.
It was the first JIC meeting to be co-chaired by the Republic of the Congo’s new minister of forest economy, sustainable development and environment, Rosalie Matondo. The co-chair representing the EU was Saskia de Lang, head of the EU delegation to the Republic of the Congo.
The JIC reviewed the implementation of the recommendations from its previous meeting and noted significant progress in the development of the national timber legality assurance system (TLAS). The VPA partners also recognised the important role of the civil society Independent Observer in improving forest governance in the Republic of the Congo.
Building on the recent independent evaluation of the EU FLEGT Action Plan, the JIC agreed on VPA implementation priorities for the second half of 2016. In particular, the JIC expects the on-going TLAS software development to be concluded and to be ready for national deployment. Other priorities include the completion of verification procedures and the recognition of private certification schemes.
The aide-memoire of the meeting is available in French. The next JIC meeting is planned for 16-17 November 2016.