On 10 March 2022, representatives of Guyana and the European Union agreed on a detailed roadmap implementing the Guyana-EU FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA), which aims to improve forest governance and verify the trade in legal timber.
“Through the implementation of the VPA, Guyana is further reducing illegal timber trade, modernising timber operations and ensuring forestry brings employment in the formal economy,” said Honorable Vickram Bharrat, MP Minister of Natural Resources. “During our earlier negotiations, Guyana has already addressed key objectives such as the revision of the National Forest Policy and the alignment of the VPA to Guyana’s Constitution as well as international legal texts, such as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
EU Ambassador to Guyana, H.E. Fernando Ponz Canto, further stated that “timber and timber products covered by valid FLEGT licences automatically meet the requirements of the EU Timber Regulation. Once Guyana’s Timber Legality Assurance System is fully operational, the EU will allow imports of FLEGT-licensed timber from Guyana to enter the EU market without due diligence checks under the EU Timber Regulation”. The Roadmap agreed will provide significant benefits for Guyana, the Ambassador added: “this is a major step towards more inclusive and sustainable use of Guyana’s formidable forest resources, and a further increase in EU-Guyana trade”.
These achievements show that Guyana is strengthening forest governance through the VPA and other related initiatives and is advancing toward FLEGT licensing. Good governance of Guyana’s forests is crucial to sustainable development. Moreover, it helps both Guyana and the EU contribute to achieving the world’s Sustainable Development Goals, mitigating climate change and protecting biodiversity.
During the meeting, the Parties also discussed the establishment of the Guyana-EU VPA Joint Monitoring and Review Committee (JMRC), which will oversee the implementation of the Agreement and includes representatives of all stakeholder groups.
The Parties considered the next steps in the VPA signature and ratification process, which is anticipated to be completed before the end of the year. Representatives of private sector and civil society, including Indigenous Peoples’ Organisations, presented the issues they would like further discussion on. The Parties re-iterated that all forest stakeholders will be involved in the VPA implementation process. Guyana committed to make funds available to support the implementation of the VPA. The EU has already been providing highly significant financial support and is planning to continue to do so in line with the Joint implementation framework both Parties have agreed upon at the pre-JMRC. Additional support is provided by the Norway and the UK.
The next meeting of the Parties is foreseen to take place before the end of 2022.
https://flegtvpafacility.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/VPA-Guyana-PreJRMRC.jpg6281200Albert Gardunohttps://flegtvpafacility.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/VPA-Africa-Latin-America-svg-logo.svgAlbert Garduno2022-03-22 10:51:002022-05-27 13:50:32Guyana and the EU agree on roadmap to improve forest governance and reduce illegal timber trade
Implementation of the VPA will take several years, during which Honduras will develop a timber legality assurance system to ensure that its timber and timber products come from legal sources and comply with relevant laws relating to importation, exportation, harvesting, processing and trade.
Implementation of the VPA will entail introducing systems and procedures to assure that businesses in Honduras only use domestic timber or import timber that has been harvested and traded in accordance with relevant legislation in the country of harvest. This will prevent illegally-harvested timber, and businesses trading it, from taking part in supply chains regulated by the timber legality assurance system.
An EU-Honduras Joint Implementation Committee (JIC) will oversee how the provisions of the Agreement are put into practice.
Once the VPA has been fully implemented, and a joint assessment by the EU and Honduras confirms this, the parties will set a date from which Honduras will issue FLEGT licences to its EU-bound exports of verified legal timber products.
FLEGT-licensed products will automatically meet the requirements of the EU Timber Regulation, which prohibits the placing of illegal timber on the EU market.
Until FLEGT licensing starts, imports into the EU from Honduras will continue to be subject to the due diligence requirements of the EU Timber Regulation aimed at ensuring that the risk of placing illegal products on the Union market is negligible.
https://flegtvpafacility.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Country-road-Valle-Angeles-Honduras.jpg5711200Albert Gardunohttps://flegtvpafacility.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/VPA-Africa-Latin-America-svg-logo.svgAlbert Garduno2021-06-30 14:45:002022-06-24 14:41:17EU and Honduras ratify agreement on illegal logging and trade in legal timber
Honduras y la Unión Europea (UE) firman un acuerdo sobre la aplicación de leyes, gobernanza y comercio forestales. El acuerdo garantizará que toda la madera y productos derivados hondureños importados a la UE tengan un origen legal y dispongan de autorización.
El acuerdo voluntario de asociación (AVA) fue firmado el 23 de febrero por el embajador de Portugal, Nuno Brito, la comisaria europea de Asociaciones Internacionales, Jutta Urpilainen, y el embajador de Honduras, Roberto Ochoa Madrid. Entrará en vigor cuando ambas partes lo hayan ratificado de acuerdo con sus procedimientos internos.
Honduras es el primer país latinoamericano en firmar un acuerdo voluntario de asociación con la UE en el marco del Plan de Acción para la Aplicación de Leyes, Gobernanza y Comercio Forestales (FLEGT, por sus siglas en inglés).
Según establece el acuerdo, Honduras pondrá en marcha mecanismos sólidos para garantizar que la madera producida en el país se obtenga legalmente. De este modo, se creará un sistema de seguimiento de la legalidad que permita evaluar la producción de madera en Honduras con criterios similares a los establecidos en el Reglamento de la madera de la UE.
Este proceso favorece las metas comerciales y de desarrollo sostenible de la UE y contribuirá al objetivo más amplio de reducir la tala ilegal.
https://flegtvpafacility.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/VPA-Honduras-Jutta-Urpilainen-Roberto-Ochoa-Madrid.jpg542810Albert Gardunohttps://flegtvpafacility.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/VPA-Africa-Latin-America-svg-logo.svgAlbert Garduno2021-03-01 11:34:002022-11-03 11:22:09La Unión Europea y Honduras acuerdan combatir la tala ilegal y promover el comercio de madera legal
Honduras and the European Union (EU) have reached an agreement on forest law enforcement, governance and trade in timber products. The agreement will ensure that all Honduran timber and timber products imported in the EU are legally sourced and licensed.
The Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) was signed on 23 February by the Portuguese Ambassador Nuno Brito, European Commissioner for international partnerships Jutta Urpilainen and the Ambassador of Honduras Roberto Ochoa Madrid. It will enter into force after each Party has ratified it in line with their internal procedures.
Honduras is the first Latin American country to sign a voluntary partnership agreement with the EU under the Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT).
As per the agreement, Honduras will develop robust mechanisms to ensure locally produced timber is legally obtained. A timber legality assurance system will be set up to assess Honduran timber logging with requirements similar to the ones set in the EU Timber Regulation.
This process enhances the EU’s sustainable development and trade goals and will contribute to the broader objective of reducing illegal logging.
https://flegtvpafacility.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/VPA-Honduras-Jutta-Urpilainen-Roberto-Ochoa-Madrid.jpg542810Albert Gardunohttps://flegtvpafacility.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/VPA-Africa-Latin-America-svg-logo.svgAlbert Garduno2021-02-26 11:42:002022-01-27 11:47:08EU and Honduras agree deal to combat illegal logging, promote trade in legal timber
Ghana and the European Union (EU) have finalised an independent assessment of the legality assurance system described in the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on FLEGT between Ghana and the EU. The final report was shared with both parties on 31 December 2020, and they are now reviewing the findings and recommendations.
The assessment reviewed all aspects of Ghana’s licensing system to ascertain its fitness for purpose. The finalisation of the assessment is an important step in the VPA process, as it will inform the parties in their decision about Ghana’s readiness to issue FLEGT license.
The assessment concluded that the system was not ready. A major gap identified was the long-standing issue of conversion of extant leases to Timber Utilization Contracts, which requires the political approval of the Parliament to happen. Other gaps identified included the absence, or obsolescence, of forest management plans by the Forestry Commission, and the effective resolution of non-compliances associated with the supply chain.
Consequently, the assessment recommended that Ghana implement corrective actions to address the issues prior to launching the FLEGT licensing scheme.
Thanking the independent experts for their thorough analysis, the EU could not hide its disappointment in the failure of Ghana to start licensing. Ghana now has to work with resolve to crown its decade-long effort in the implementation of the VPA to address quickly all outstanding issues for FLEGT licensing.
“Ultimately, we expect FLEGT-licensed timber products to bring significant economic benefits to Ghana and its forestry sector, as they will automatically meet the requirements of the EU Timber Regulation”, said Ms Diana Acconcia, Head of the EU Delegation to Ghana.
On Ghana’s part, the Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, John Allotey, re-echoed the country position that “with the significant part of the Legality Assurance System (GhLAS) implementation behind us, Ghana’s remains committed to closing all identified gaps in order to come to the point of readiness for FLEGT licensing”.
The Ghana-EU Joint Monitoring Review Mechanism (JMRM), the joint committee overseeing the implementation of the agreement, will determine next steps based on the report. The next JMRM meeting is tentatively scheduled for April 2021.
https://flegtvpafacility.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/man-measure-forest-timber.jpg6281200Albert Gardunohttps://flegtvpafacility.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/VPA-Africa-Latin-America-svg-logo.svgAlbert Garduno2021-02-12 07:54:002022-05-11 13:19:49Ghana and EU finalise assessment of Ghana Timber Legality Assurance System
Cameroon has become one of the first African countries to require the use of legal wood and timber in all its public procurement procedures. From now on, operators engaged in construction or public purchases in connection with wood by-products will have to prove the legal origin of the wood used. The new joint decree was signed on December 15, 2020 by Cameroonian ministers in charge of Forestry, Public Works, and Public Contracts.
The public sector is Cameroon’s main wood and furniture buyer, using at least 13 000 cubic metres per year for infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and other public facilities. However, sawn timber from legal sources and supplying the domestic market is estimated at only 27% of the total volume of timber in circulation in the country’s main markets, according to a study by the Center for International Forestry Research. The remaining 73% of wood supplied to the domestic market and its operators is illegal.
This situation is expected to soon change following the publication on December 15, 2020 of a new interministerial decree. The text, jointly signed by the ministries of Forests and Fauna, Public Works and Public Markets, introduces a legality clause to all public procurement procedures requiring the use of sawn wood and wood products.
Operators engaged in construction or public procurement in connection with wood by-products will from now on have to prove the legal origin of wood used. The Ministry of Forests will be responsible for ensuring availability of legal wood and compliance with this provision when acquiring equipment and developing infrastructure. The Ministry of Public Procurement must include this provision in tender documents, and the Ministry of Public Works will oversee the implementation of the decree overall.
Through a public communication, the Ministry of Forests stated that “this economic text is a major step in the implementation of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement for the Legal Timber Trade (VPA-FLEGT) in the country. The objective is to limit the impact of informal activities on the economic performance of the forestry sector. The State’s objective is also to limit the import of timber products. This will boost the further processing industry that has, for over a decade now, been the weaker point of public policy”.
As a result of this initiative, “the State shall no longer contribute to illegal logging through its public procurement practices”, stated a representative of the Ministry of Forests.
https://flegtvpafacility.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/sawn-wood-transport-indra-van-gisbergen-fern.jpg542810Albert Gardunohttps://flegtvpafacility.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/VPA-Africa-Latin-America-svg-logo.svgAlbert Garduno2021-02-04 11:53:002022-01-27 11:57:59Cameroon achieves a new milestone in promoting legal wood
https://flegtvpafacility.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/volumes-produits-bois-congolais-importes-par-UE-2004-2019.jpg6281200Albert Gardunohttps://flegtvpafacility.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/VPA-Africa-Latin-America-svg-logo.svgAlbert Garduno2020-11-26 07:55:002023-05-29 17:30:18The Republic of the Congo and the EU release 2019 annual report on VPA progress
The VPA ALA Facility has published a story reporting how law enforcement and continuous checks on operators are transforming business practices in Ghana’s timber sector. Companies are making noticeable improvements, in particular in relation to environmental and social obligations.
Strengthened law enforcement is part of an ongoing effort in Ghana to improve the governance of the forest sector, and safeguard the long-term survival of the country’s forests. Law enforcement, as well as demands for better health and safety conditions by employees becoming more aware of their rights, and are yielding impressive results.
It’s a hot afternoon in Ataasi Nkwanta, in the Ashanti region in Southern Ghana. Beads of sweat are trickling down the head of Ernest Anokye, the operations director of a small sawmill called Sir Charles Company Limited. “It never used to be this hot this time of the year,” says Anokye. “It’s getting hotter every year! But things are changing around here. Recently, our community planted trees to create shade and stop droughts. People are increasingly aware of the benefits of forests in the fight against climate change.”
https://flegtvpafacility.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/sir-charles-company-limited-ghana.jpg6281200Albert Gardunohttps://flegtvpafacility.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/VPA-Africa-Latin-America-svg-logo.svgAlbert Garduno2019-12-24 09:39:002022-05-23 13:23:24Strong law enforcement drives responsible timber businesses in Ghana
About the VPA Africa – Latin America Facility
The VPA Africa – Latin America Facility supports the implementation of the EU FLEGT Action Plan with a focus on Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs). The Facility contributes to combating illegal logging and strengthening forest governance while encouraging sustainable economic development in countries that produce or process timber and export to the EU. The Facility is hosted by the European Forest Institute (EFI) and was established in November 2019.
This website has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union.
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