FAO-EU FLEGT Programme

Latin American wood product industry meets to discuss responsible trade


Lima, Peru – Representatives of national and regional associations within the wood product industry across Latin America are meeting in Lima, Peru this week to examine the shared challenges and opportunities of responsible trade.

Discussions are focusing on issues of competitiveness and access to markets, the impact of new and emerging regulations, regional trade flow data, incentives for forest conservation, efficient traceability systems and independent forest monitoring. Some 60 delegates at the two-day meeting represent small- and medium-sized businesses across the wood products sector in the region.

Creating conditions for profitable and responsible businesses in the forest sector requires constant interaction and communication between the authorities and the guilds or associations of producers, said John Leigh Vetter, Executive Director of the National Forestry and Wildlife Service (SERFOR) of Peru as the event opened Tuesday.

"Promoting responsible wood trade is an effective way to contribute to sustainable forest management, so that our forests continue to generate economic growth and improve the quality of life of the populations that benefit from their goods and services. In this task, we are all involved; and we are all responsible,” he said.

Rachel Butler, Executive Director of Global Timber Forum (GTF), a co-organizer of the event, emphasized the need for strong communication within the sector. “Given the realities of engaging with small businesses across complex supply chains, it is only by convening together that their associations will strengthen responsible trade,” she said. “The summit will also allow for the participation of other important stakeholders so that a strong consensus can emerge across the region.”

GTF organized the meeting with support from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), through the FAO and the European Union (EU) Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Programme.

Participants will also review examples of governments, communities and business working together towards achieving responsible trade in the region. Those examples include the Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA) between the European Union (EU) and Honduras and Guyana; the Inter-Sectorial Pact for Wood in Colombia; the community technical units in Peru designated as veedores or custodians of the forest with technical functions; the traceability systems in Guatemala and Honduras; and the alliance to stop illegal logging between Belize and Guatemala.

“This summit will allow the exchange of ideas and experiences regarding the latest advances in trade with high environmental and social standards,” said FAO Forestry Officer, Guillermo Navarro, as the event opened. “In parallel, it is also important that we are able to identify the barriers faced by the wood products industry in the region. By providing these shared spaces for dialogue, we can help connect the region on all these issues.”