In 2003, the European Union (EU) adopted its Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) with the aim to halt illegal logging and promote better governance. The main tool to implement the Action Plan is the negotiation and conclusion of Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA) between the EU and a Partner Country. To date, in West and Central Africa, the EU has signed VPAs with 5 countries (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Ghana, Liberia, and Republic of Congo), is negotiating with 2 countries (Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon) and has introduced the VPA in Côte d’Ivoire. In addition to the VPAs, the EU recently adopted the EU Timber Regulation which prohibits the placing of illegal timber on the EU market as of 3 March 2013.
The three-day conference brought together stakeholders involved in the implementation of the VPA process to:
Presentations and course materials
It is expected that participants from the different VPA countries will create closer and more collaborative networks and exchange ideas on successes and challenges. Following the conference, a platform could be set up so as to enable the participants to continue exchanging experiences. In addition to the conference proceedings, the outcomes of the meeting will be included in the overall lessons learned document that ACP-FLEGT Programme and EFI FLEGT facility are publishing.
Approximately 100 participants are expected to attend the conference. Participants include representatives from government institutions, civil society and private sector organizations as well as scientists and practitioners from VPA countries. Participation of international and sub-regional organizations active in the VPA process is also expected.
The conference is organized by the Forestry Commission of Ghana in partnership with FAO, through the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Support Programme for African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP-FLEGT Support Programme), the European Forest Institute’s (EFI) EU FLEGT Facility and the Strengthening African Forest Governance project.
The conference will take place at the Alisa Hotel.