The EU, USA, Japan and Australia are the most demanding markets when it comes to proof of legality and sustainability of timber imports, according to leading Asian suppliers. This was among the findings of a report from the Global Timber Forum based on a survey of timber industry associations in both Asian producing and consumer countries; Indonesia, Australia, Thailand, Vietnam and Australia.
Ghana’s online wood tracking system, and a Liberian radio channel dedicated to forestry issues were key topics in a meeting of representatives of the two countries under an EU Non-State Actors FLEGT VPA initiative (NSA). The NSA project is titled ‘Strengthening capacity of non-state actors to improve FLEGT-VPA and REDD+ processes’. It involves Liberia, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. (Photo left: Community VPA training in Liberia)
Honduras’s FLEGT VPA has potential to protect forests and biodiversity and ensure the forest rights of indigenous peoples and interests of small businesses and cooperatives. It can also underpin the commercial development and competitiveness of the forest sector, including private plantation businesses. (Photo left: Democracy without Borders)
Further progress on Lao PDR’s timber legality definition was among topics discussed at its third meeting with the EU on development of its EU FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement. Talks were held in Brussels from June 17 to 21 (Photo left: Chris Lang)
Forests need to be ‘front and centre’ of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the European Consensus on Development – and the EU FLEGT initiative can be one key to marrying forest maintenance and wider sustainability policy. That was the view expressed by European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, at the Our forests, our future conference in Brussels late April. (Photo left: Neven Mimica)
The UK and Indonesia have signed an agreement committing the former to continued recognition of FLEGT licences after Brexit. The UK Department for Environment (Defra) confirmed the arrangement on its twitter page on March 29.
The PEFC officially endorsed the Indian Certification Standard for Sustainable Forest on 23 February. No forests have yet been certified under the standard, but Vijai Sharma, Chairman of The Network for Certification and Conservation of Forests (NCCF), maintained that sanction from the PEFC would now lead to ‘Indian forest managers further strengthening their sustainable forest management practices, in line with global standards and multilateral requirements’.
ClientEarth has created an online portal providing links to sources of information on national forestry law worldwide.The environmental law charity says that the Forest Logbook hub is targeted at ‘forest defenders’ and managers, including lawyers, communities NGOs, importers, logging operators and regulators.
Ghana demonstrated its Wood Tracking System and other elements of its Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS) to stakeholders from Republic of Congo (RoC) and Laos in a five-day event at the end of November. The multi-country information exchange included two conference days and a three-day field trip to the forest and timber processing companies in the Sefwi-Wiawso forest district in western Ghana.
The signature by the EU and Vietnam of the latter’s FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement is scheduled for later this year, with ratification in 2019. They are being heralded as critical staging posts, and important moments both practically and psychologically, in the country’s progress towards full VPA implementation and its start of FLEGT licensing of timber and wood product exports to the EU.
The FLEGT licensed information point is expanding its information for timber buyers. Recent IMM trade consultations revealed that the trade advantages of FLEGT licensed timber are relatively well-known. However, the private sector is keen to learn more about, and articulate to their clients, the social, economic and environmental benefits of FLEGT licensed timber.
The Joint Implementation Committee for the Indonesian VPA met on 1 March 2018 in Jakarta to review experience with the first 15 months of licensing. According to information from the Indonesian SILK database and the Licensing Information Unit (LIU), more than 39,000 FLEGT licenses were issued during 2017. This means that FLEGT-licenses accounted for 18.2% of all V-Legal documents – paperwork accompanying Indonesian exports globally and guaranteeing timber legality – issued during that period.
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