FAO-EU FLEGT Programme

Phase I: The ACP-FLEGT Support Programme

In 2003, the European Union (EU) adopted the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan to halt the supply of and demand for illegal timber. Two core instruments of the FLEGT Action Plan include the conclusion of Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA) between the EU and individual timber producing countries and the application of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) that prohibits placing timber of illegal origin on the EU market from 3 March 2013.

The FLEGT Support Programme for African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP-FLEGT Support Programme) started as a four-year, collaborative effort between FAO, the European Commission (EC) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States. This demand-driven initiative, which received EUR 10 million funding from the EC, offered financial and technical assistance to local stakeholder groups – government institutions, civil society and private sector organizations – in ACP countries to put the FLEGT Action Plan into practice. The Programme also supported the analysis and dissemination of FLEGT-related information and experiences among local stakeholder groups.

A summary of key facts and figures related to Phase I of the Programme is available here.

Phase II: The FAO FLEGT Programme

The FAO FLEGT Programme, a follow-on Programme to the ACP-FLEGT Support Programme, began on May 1, 2012 and ended on April 30, 2016.

Since 2012 and the beginning of Phase II, the Programme developed and managed 108 projects in 32 countries, representing a total commitment of 9.2 million USD. The Programme was most active in VPA countries, where 72 projects were implemented (2/3 of all projects), with a budget of almost 6 million USD over four years. A few projects were implemented at regional scale as for example in the Congo Basin, Mekong Region and in Latin America.

With 53 projects and more than 5 milllion dollars allocated to the region, Africa remains the biggest investment for the Programme. Projects in Africa tend to be longer (12 months) and have a higher budget, with an average of 95 000 USD per project. This large share of projects in Africa can be explained by the high number of strategic countries in the region; the Programme actively works with 6 VPA countries and 7 non-VPA countries. 

The Programme in Phase II has put a great emphasis on community involvement with the FLEGT process, with about 25% of projects related to this thematic. Another strong focus was on TLAS, traceability and independent monitoring – an important step towards the VPA negotiation and implementation. Although the number of private sector supporting initiatives remained relatively low, other activities under different thematic areas are also indirectly contributing to that target, such as TLAS and traceability training for private sector organization.

Thirty projects directly addressed private sector needs, through needs assessment and training activities (10 projects) and promoting compliance with legal requirements and regulations (including support towards certification of SMEs). More targeted and focused support to the private sector is central to the strategy of the third Phase of the Programme.