FAO-EU FLEGT Programme

Honduras: Securing land rights of local communities and agroforestry cooperatives

The FAO-EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Programme partnered with the Asociación de Municipios de Honduras (AMHON) and the Instituto Nacional de Conservación y Desarrollo Forestal, Áreas Protegidas y Vida Silvestre (ICF) to support municipal authorities in securing the land rights of local communities and agroforestry cooperatives by improving the administration of ejidal (municipal) forests. Formalizing the status of ejidal lands and strengthening the capacities of local authorities to manage them is a key step towards improved forest governance in Honduras, which signed a voluntary partnership agreement (VPA) with the European Union in February 2021.

Regional: South-South cooperation advances transparency objectives in West and Central Africa

Cooperation between national NGOs in West and Central Africa has advanced transparency and legality objectives in the forest sector across the region. The FAO-EUForest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Programme has partnered with local NGOs to expand Independent Forest Monitoring activities by promoting regional cooperation. Independent forest observers are now better equipped to monitor the use of forest resources and participate in related decision-making processes.

Colombia: Building the capacities of MSMEs to supply legal timber to the domestic market

Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) play a crucial role in Colombia’s domestic timber market but lack awareness of legal requirements and the skills to comply with them. The FAO-EU Forest LawEnforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Programme partnered with the Federación de Industriales de la Madera (FEDEMADERAS) to build the capacities of 61 MSMEs on legal, environmental and fiscal requirements and to link small timber operators to legal timber suppliers.

Guyana: Empowering indigenous forest-dependent communities to manage and monitor forest resources

The FAO-EU FLEGT Programme has supported the Amerindian Peoples Association to design and implement Free, Prior, Informed Consent protocols as part of the Programme’s broader objective to ensure participation of forest communities in national forest governance dialogue. Empowering indigenous and forest-dependent communities to play an active role in national forest governance dialogues capitalizes on their unique knowledge of forest resources.

The project saw the successful piloting of the protocols in the village of Bethany, where community members were equipped with the skills and knowledge to negotiate with extractive resource companies and monitor their activity on customary land. The project offers a potential new pathway to regulating the use of resources within customary land in Guyana.

Cameroon: Boosting small timber operators’ market access through improved legal compliance

Within the framework of the EU’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan, the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme partnered with Action for Sustainable Development (ASD) to increase legal compliance and the participation of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Cameroon’s domestic legal timber market. Through combined efforts, ASD strengthened the capacity of small timber operators to comply with regulations and facilitated the creation of legal and sustainable market linkages.

Innovative digital approaches to sustaining livelihoods through the production and sale of legal timber

The FAO-EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Programme has supported the development of e-commerce platforms, which helps incentivize legal timber trade on both domestic and export markets, and protect livelihoods. These platforms have become even more relevant in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, encouraging business continuity by reducing the need for face-to-face interactions between buyers and sellers. 

Indonesia: Increasing the scope and reach of independent forest monitoring

The FAO-EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Programme has supported a number of Indonesian Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to train and mentor 550 new independent forest monitors across Indonesia since 2017. Expanding the scope and reach of Independent Forest Monitoring (IFM) contributes to the robustness and credibility of the SVLK and is critical in protecting Indonesia’s forest.

Guatemala: Supporting carpenters to purchase and use legal timber 

Through support from the FAO-EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Programme, the Organization Asociación Balam has connected local carpenters to legal timber producers in the northern Guatemalan department of Petén by building and strengthening cooperatives. Building and strengthening cooperatives producers and buyers, and improving overall forest governance, has significant impacts on livelihoods and the overall sustainability of Guatemala’s timber industry. FAO’s partners also provided dedicated trainings to Municipal Government officials on good forest governance to reduce the rate of illegal logging and oversight of forest management plans.

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Ghana: Targeted trainings allow small and medium forest enterprises (SMFEs) to comply with national legality requirements

Ghana signed a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union in 2009, as part of the EU’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan to address illegal logging. In this context, the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme partnered with Kumasi Wood Cluster (KWC) through two consecutive projects to assist Small and Medium Forest Enterprises (SMFEs) in complying with forest legality standards. SMFEs were able to identify gaps in operations and received trainings to undertake corrective actions to close these gaps. These trainings equipped operators with new skillsets, leading to increased compliance with the Ghana Timber Legality Assurance System established under the framework of the VPA.

Benin: Government agency blazes a trail for traceability

Tracing wood back to the forest it came from is essential to eliminating illegal logging. The National Timber Office of Benin (ONAB), with assistance from the FAO-EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Programme, established an innovative traceability system for its teak plantations that helps prevent illegal logging, transport or sale of state timber. ONATRACK uses smartphones to send real-time information from the forest to the office, and uses barcodes to track the timber. This is a first step to demonstrating that timber is produced legally, and will eventually increase market access for the small and medium enterprises that process and export state timber. The system is so successful it is now used in all state plantations in Benin, positioning the country as a traceability leader in West Africa.

Viet Nam: Business learns to engage with work in legal timber production and trade

Viet Nam, a major timber importing and processing country, has seen exponential growth of its forest-based industries over the past decade. Besides importing timber from some 80 countries across Asia, Africa and South America, Viet Nam exports timber products worth USD 7 billion1 to major markets worldwide. This includes trade in timber products with the European Union (EU) worth USD 736 million. To expand trade and ensure access to the EU market, Viet Nam and the EU have developed a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). This legally binding bilateral trade agreement centers on implementation of Viet Nam’s Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS) which defines and verifies legal timber and leads to Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) licenses that expedite access to the EU market. The broader objective of the VPA is to improve forest governance in Viet Nam, combat illegal logging, and promote trade in verified legal timber products.

Ghana: Championing rights and fair compensation for forest communities

Ghana’s work to promote the legal timber trade in partnership with the European Union (EU) places a strong emphasis on involving local communities who live in or near forests. Yet farmers and communities do not always understand their rights, which means that illegal activity by loggers has gone unchecked in Ghana’s off-reserve forests. The FAO-EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Programme supported a non-profit association, Sustainable Forest Management Partnership-Ghana, to increase awareness among farmers of their right to negotiate compensation when logging damages crops on their land. The project successfully fostered understanding among farmers and local communities of their entitlements, and also helped loggers better grasp their own responsibilities under the law. The project helped to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by improving local livelihoods and strengthening forest governance by increasing transparency.