FAO-EU FLEGT Programme

Context

In 2003, the EU adopted the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan: the European Commission’s response to combating illegal logging. FLEGT aims to reduce illegal logging and timber production, such as those via illegal timber production – leading causes of forest degradation and deforestation.

The two main components of the FLEGT Action Plan are the Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA) and the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR). The VPA is a binding bilateral trade agreement which defines a Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS) resulting in the issuance of FLEGT licences, which provides green lane access to the EU market. There are other important FLEGT instruments or tools such as Voluntary Forest Certification (e.g. FSC or PEFC schemes), national or private legality verification systems, and private or public procurement policies.

Both VPAs and “other FLEGT instruments” have developed in response and to complement the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR). While the VPA is the main supply side instrument of the FLEGT Action Plan, in the absence of VPA negotiations, these other FLEGT instruments have the ability to help producer countries improve forest sector governance in response to international market requirements such as the EUTR.