FAO-EU FLEGT supports international timber traceability workshop in Colombia

Experts in methods for tracing forest products along the value chain to ascertain their origins and ensure legal provenance are sharing experiences during a three-day workshop designed to help strengthen the timber legality system in Colombia.

The International Workshop on Tracking Forest Products is taking place this week in the Colombian city of Pereira in Risaralda department, co-sponsored by the FAO-EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Programme and the Regional Autonomous Corporation of Risaralda (CARDER). The goal of the various sessions, drawing experts from Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Ecuador, is to contribute to the larger national timber legality system which Colombian authorities have been developing.

In Risaralda in particular, the FAO-EU programme has been working to support establishment of a forest legality process, generating recognition of forest legality in at least 10 wood-processing companies to strengthen the Departmental Agreement for Legal Timber. That work is expected to contribute to implementation of the country’s forest governance indicators.

Colombia is the first country in Latin America to introduce an Intersectoral Pact for Legal Timber (PIML) which has become a model for the region. The PIML was launched in 2009 with 24 organizations and has grown to comprise at least 70 public and private sector organizations. The pact has also stimulated discussion on identification of legal timber so that wood which is extracted, traded and used comes from legal sources.

The PIML initiative was led by the Colombian Ministry for the Environment and Sustainable Development (MADS) working with civil society, local communities and the private sector, and with the support of the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme. The PIML contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals, promoting the sustainable use of natural resources to eradicate poverty and eliminate hunger.

During this week’s workshop Guillermo Navarro, a forestry officer with the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme, is leading a session on the contributions of national traceability systems to strengthening forest governance. In addition, a work plan will be developed for the implementation of the main modules of the new Colombian forest traceability system.