The briefing opens with a report of the FLEGT/EUTR Expert Group meeting that took place in Brussels, Belgium, on 21 June 2019. The Expert Group discussed updates on implementation of FLEGT and adopted the FLEGT Annual Synthesis Report 2017. Participants heard updates on the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) process with Vietnam and Lao PDR. The briefing then provides updates on implementation of the EUTR in Sweden and the UK.
On illegal logging and timber trade, the briefing highlights reports by Mongabay of timber seizures in Indonesia. It points to Earthsight’s news website Timberleaks, which followed up on the report ‘Complicit in Corruption’ that identified illegal logging and corruption in the Ukraine. It also reports on the launch by the Environmental Investigation Agency of a series of undercover videos documenting overharvesting, money laundering and tax evasion by a Gabon-based timber company.
Among legislation and policy updates, the briefing highlights the ratification by Vietnam and the EU of their VPA in May 2019, the conclusion by Lao PDR and the EU of their third formal VPA negotiation in June 2019, and the meeting of the EU-Republic of the Congo VPA Joint Implementation Committee in Brazzaville in June 2019.
The briefing note was compiled by UNEP-WCMC as a consultant of the European Commission in close cooperation with the Member States’ Competent Authorities.