Programme FAO-UE FLEGT

Honduras ratifies the Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the European Union


Tegucigalpa, 29 June 2021

The National Congress of Honduras ratified a Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the European Union for forest law enforcement, governance and trade of timber products

Honduras is the first Latin American country to sign a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union (EU). The negotiation process, which begun in 2013, has been participatory and inclusive, providing space to representatives of civil society organizations, the private sector, government authorities, agroforestry communities and indigenous and afro-descendant peoples.

The VPA is a legally binding agreement between the EU and a non-EU timber exporting country. Its objective is to ensure that all wood and derived products coming from the exporting partner country, and destined to the EU market, comply with the legislation of the country of origin. One of the strengths of this agreement is that, beyond trade, it contributes to countries’ socio-economic and environmental objectives.

The agreement is based on compliance with Honduran environmental laws, fiscal obligations and regulations related to the human rights of workers in the forestry sector. By complying with the VPA, Honduras will work towards the objectives set in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has provided technical and financial support in the process of implementing the Honduras VPA through the FAO-EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Programme, financing 52 projects for an approximate value of USD 2.8 million. Of these, 27 were implemented in collaboration with the Forest Conservation Institute (Instituto Nacional de Conservación y Desarrollo Forestal, Áreas Protegidas y Vida Silvestre, ICF). The projects were developed in close coordination with organizations from civil society, the private sector, indigenous and Afro-Honduran peoples, agroforestry communities and other entities linked to the forestry sector.

Collaboration between the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme and local actors focused on:

  • the forest sector value chain;
  • timber legality;
  • consultations to review the VPA’s legality grids;
  • the development of the Honduran Timber Legality Assurance System;
  • livelihoods and land tenure;
  • support to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs);
  • and increasing the visibility of the FLEGT VPA in Honduras.

Through the ratification of the VPA, both parties commit to halting trade in illegal timber, culminating in the issuance of FLEGT licenses that certify the legality of timber exported to the EU. FLEGT-certified timber products from Honduras will be able to enter the EU market, which will provide a significant economic incentive for the country, whilst contributing to the conservation and sustainable management of  forests.

For more information

EU Press Release