Evidence of VPA impacts: findings from Cameroon, Ghana and Indonesia


A study conducted in Cameroon, Ghana and Indonesia, three countries at different stages of implementation of Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs), signed within the framework of the EU’s Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade, showed that the VPA process contributed to significant improvements in various dimensions assessed.

Supported by the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) conducted a study to gather evidence of the contribution of the VPA FLEGT process to four thematic areas:

1.  Sustainable forest management and forest conditions;
2.  Relation and development of the formal and informal forest sector;
3.  Jobs and employment;
4.  Governance, law enforcement and compliance.

Overall, the findings showed progress on many VPA-related targets, and that for most of the observed changes, VPA contribution is generally positive.

The most significant reported contributions of the VPA were found in the areas of Sustainable forest management and forest conditions, and Governance, law enforcement and compliance.

Sustainable forest management and forest conditions

  • Sustainable forest management has been directly and positively impacted by the VPA process through a better implementation of management plans and increased number of Chain-of-Custody certificates;
  • Globally, the VPA process has positively contributed to the voices and opinions of local communities and indigenous people living in and around forests being considered during forest related decision-making processes, as well as a more efficient collection and better redistribution of taxes to these communities;
  • Globally, the VPA process has positively contributed to better private sector organization and less business disruptions, mainly for SMEs.

Governance, law enforcement and compliance

  • The VPA process has positively contributed to both a more coherent legal and regulatory framework, with sanctions being more regularly enforced and more credible due to the VPA, and to greater overall transparency in the forestry sector;
  • The VPA process has positively contributed to a stronger and better organised civil society, providing actors with greater autonomy to now hold government to account by identifying irregularities.

Combining the findings from the three countries allows practitioners and policy makers to garner a broader global picture and to assess VPA impact more globally, and it allows lessons to be applied to other VPA countries as well as for the VPA process itself. Using the same methodology in every country was useful to look at a broader perspective across all collected indicators and across the three countries.

The study was conducted through an initial literature desk review for each country, followed by interviews with key stakeholders. The information collected through the literature review is publicly available through an online VPA library, which is expected to become a reference tool for researchers, government officials, civil society organizations and other actors currently engaged in monitoring the impact of FLEGT-VPA processes.

The documents are available at the following links:

An executive summary is available here.

For related enquiries, please contact:

Ahtziri Gonzalez
Communications consultant, CIFOR
[email protected]
+32 479 15 3101