FAO Regional Office for Africa

African countries work to create incentives for reducing illegal logging through domestic market demands

Public procurement policies key to promoting legal timber trade

Photo: © FAO

16 May 2019, Abidjan [Côte d'Ivoire] – Representatives from six African countries are meeting in Abidjan to discuss ways to fight against the illegal timber trade through domestic markets at a two-day meeting supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Illegal logging and associated trade undermines the potential of Africa’s forests to contribute to sustainable development, including efforts to address climate change and biodiversity loss, while depriving nations of important revenue.

Government officials from Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana and Liberia will discuss how to strengthen the legal supply of domestic timber and timber products by developing public procurement policies at today’s event.
FAO’s Representative to Cote d’Ivoire, Mr. Samy François Gaiji, said, “While there is a lot of focus on ending the illegal timber trade in international markets, it is vital that countries also provide incentives to regulate their own domestic markets in order to put a stop to illegal logging and stimulate demand for legal timber at the national level”.

“Public procurement policies that incentivize public bodies to purchase legally sourced timber on domestic markets are one of the keys to doing this”, he said.

Countries leading the way

Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana have already started working on developing public procurement policies for legal timber, and representatives will share their experiences with other countries at today’s event.

FAO’s Forestry Officer, Daphne Hewitt said, “FAO welcomes the progress made by Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, and we hope that their lessons learned will be valuable for similar policy dialogues in the region”.
More than 90 participants from governments, civil society, academia, the private sector, and international organizations are attending the regional workshop in Abidjan, convened by the FAO-EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Programme, Côte d'Ivoire’s Ministry of Water and Forestry, the Centre for International Forestry Research and the German Agency for International Development.

Among topics participants will address with regard to developing public procurement policies are the role of construction companies, financial partners and local and decentralized authorities, the identification of legal timber sources, and ways to balance supply and demand for legal timber.

The FAO-EU FLEGT Programme

Countries participating in today’s event are engaged in the fight against illegal harvesting of timber and related trade within the framework of the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme, which foresees initiatives to curb the export of illegally sourced timber towards the European Union.

The European Union, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, and the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom fund the programme.