FAO-EU FLEGT Programme

Philippines forest sector agrees to roadmap to improve forest law enforcement, governance and trade


A broad coalition of Filipino stakeholders is acting to improve forest law enforcement, governance and trade (FLEGT) in the Philippines with support from the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations’ FAO-EU FLEGT Programme. At its inaugural meeting, the Technical Working Group on Wood (TWGW) set out a roadmap of FLEGT activities in the Philippines to undertake between 2017-2020 to promote the trade of legally sourced timber and wood products, which will contribute to more transparent and responsible domestic forest industries.

Representatives from 16 organizations from government, private sector and civil society attended the meeting, which was presided over by Forester Noni Tamayo, Director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Forest Management Bureau.

The FAO-EU FLEGT Programme has been active in the Philippines since 2014, and recently renewed its engagement in recognition of the Philippines’ commitment to addressing forest governance issues.

“With the newly launched FAO-EU FLEGT Programme in the Philippines, we hope to have wood production nationwide at a standard that is legally harvested, ascertained of its source, with valid documents and eventually traded in both the domestic and export markets,” said Forester Raul Briz, FMB Forest Protection Section Chief.
The Philippines FLEGT roadmap agreed at the TWGW meeting outlines interventions to address longstanding challenges and barriers to effective forest management, law enforcement, governance and trade in the Philippines.

“The roadmap’s contents were designed by national, regional and local stakeholders,” said FAO Forestry Officer Bruno Cammaert. “FAO’s role is to support local priorities for improving domestic forest law enforcement, governance and trade.”

One of the main priorities for domestic wood processers and furniture producers is to address the national log supply deficit, which was estimated at 3.3 million m³ in 2015 based on data from the 2015 Philippine Forestry Statistics. The Philippines must boost its local timber production to meet domestic demand or it will continue to depend on imported timber and wood products.

Another roadmap priority for 2017 is to address the lack of assurance or control systems, and help exporters in the Philippines to demonstrate the legal or sustainable origin and traceability of their products to facilitate compliance with international market requirements. The Chamber of Furniture Industries of the Philippines (CFIP) is currently finalizing a chain-of-custody guidebook previously developed with FAO support that aims to help exporters reduce the risk of illegality in their domestic and imported timber supplies and also helps their clients in regulated markets to meet due diligence or due care obligations. The guidebook specifically provides guidance to the forest industry on how to source, procure, transport, process and market legally harvested timber and timber products. CFIP hopes to field test the guidebook in several regions to evaluate the adoption by operators at various points of the timber supply chain.

TWGW members are developing detailed proposals for the activities identified in the roadmap, the first of which is targeted to begin in the third quarter of 2017.

“The TWGW’s role need not be limited to the implementation of the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme,” said Cammaert. “This multi-stakeholder platform is unique and could serve as a forum to share information, progress and ideas, but also to provide guidance to other projects, initiatives and institutions.”

The TWGW receives support from the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme, which is funded by the European Union, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, and the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom. The Programme supports projects that encourage legal and sustainable timber production and consumption. The TWGW is managed through a joint initiative between FAO and the DENR’s Forest Management Bureau. The FMB chairs the TWGW and handles or manages no project funds from FAO.

For more information, visit the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme and DENR-FMB websites.