In the lead up to the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, the European Forest Institute (EFI) has released a story describing the experience of indigenous peoples in the negotiation of the EU-Honduras Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). The agreement is reshaping the way forests are managed in Honduras.
Honduras and the European Union committed in 2013 to working together and addressing illegal logging and trade. The VPA was negotiated to improve overall governance in the forest sector, and to ensure wood sold domestically and exported from Honduras comes from legal sources. The agreement has now been ratified by the Honduran congress and by the EU.
From the outset, VPA negotiations in Honduras included representatives from indigenous communities along with the Government, private sector, and civil society organisations.
Rosario García, president of the National Lenca Indigenous Organisation (ONIL) and coordinator of the Roundtable for the Unity of Lenca Indigenous People (MUPIL), describes the VPA as an opportunity to deal with historic, entrenched problems indigenous peoples have struggled with.
Carmen Borjas, who represents small and medium forest owners, says the VPA has been ratified with an unparalleled level of consensus, with forest owners now paying full attention to what indigenous groups have to say.