On 25 May 2023, the European Union (EU) and Côte d’Ivoire held the second meeting of the pre-Joint Implementation Committee (pre-JIC) of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) in Abidjan. This Agreement will contribute to increase forest governance, tackle illegal logging and support Côte d’Ivoire’s efforts to improve the management of its natural resources.
Following the finalisation of the VPA negotiations and the initialling of the Agreement on 19 October 2022, and the first pre-JIC meeting on 24 October 2022, this second pre-JIC meeting represents an important milestone in the VPA process. Today’s discussions will provide an opportunity to consider the final preparations for the signing, scheduled for the end of 2023, and the implementation of the Agreement. The meeting was co-chaired by the Minister for Water and Forests and the Ambassador of the European Union.
To date, the VPA negotiations have catalysed a whole series of legal reforms to transform the way the Ivorian forestry sector is managed. Thirty-seven application texts for the 2019 Forestry Code have been published following a participatory and inclusive drafting process aimed at making the regulatory framework more complete and operational. The VPA also contributes to better integrating women in the management of forest resources.
With the signing of the Agreement fast approaching, the focus will now shift to its implementation. This includes setting up a verification system to guarantee legality and traceability of timber sold on the domestic Ivorian market, as well as on international markets, including the EU.
In addition to forest governance and the legality of timber, the implementation of the Agreement will contribute to an increase in revenue for the Ivorian State from a more competitive forestry sector. The implementation of the VPA will also contribute to sustainable forest management, which will make it possible to combat climate change more effectively.