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FAO-EU FLEGT Programme

Regional Conference- Experiences From The VPA Process In West And Central African Countries

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.

Objectives

The three-day conference brought together stakeholders involved in the implementation of the VPA process to:

  1. Discuss progress on VPA implementation;
  2. Identify the major opportunities, successes, challenges and/or constraints, path forward of the VPA process; and
  3. Share experiences and lessons learned from the VPA process.

Presentations and course materials

  • Community participa­tion: the role of community radio 
  • Considerations for VPA Implementation: Observations from an EU Timber Regulation Perspective 
  • Coordination approaches 
  • Country presentation in the implementation phase 
  • Country presentation in the negotiation phase 
  • Country presentation in the preparation phase 
  • Engaging key stake-holders: promoting China’s engagement 
  • Facilitating compliance with EUTR 
  • FAO FLEGT Programme’s role in projects coordination 
  • FLEGT and certification: issues and expectations 
  • Implementation of the Ghana-EU Voluntary Partnership Agreement: Some Issues and Early Lessons 
  • Implementing VPAs: Outlining Approaches to Achieve Coherence in VPA Related Law Reform 
  • In search of a workable wood tracking system for Ghana´s VPA 
  • Independent observation by civil society and communities (IO-CSC): Concept, issues and challenges 
  • Introduction
  • Introduction of VPA impact monitoring: objectives and methods 
  • Introduction to LAS
  • Introduction to the LAS 
  • Liberia - case study 
  • National level coordination at institutional level 
  • Private sector motivation for, and perceived barriers to, VPA Implementation in Cameroon 
  • Update on the EUTR 
  • Why aren’t governments more open? Civil society oversight tools to improve transparency and accountability in the forest sector

Expected outcomes

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.

Participants

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.

Organizers

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.

Venue

The conference will take place at the Alisa Hotel.