Advancing Sustainability in the Lao PDR’s Wood Processing Sector

The Lao PDR is striving for sustainable growth by improving its forestry and wood sector’s legal, regulatory, and institutional framework.

In line with this, representatives from related organizations gathered to update the approval decision of the standard for wood products for export No. 0851/MOIC. This technical meeting took place in Vangvieng Province, from August 10-11, 2023. It discussed important issues concerning wood industry management and export.

The wood processing industry in the Lao PDR holds a lot of promise for increasing the value of exports. Therefore, the meeting’s objective was to ensure that wood products, including rattan, and bamboo, are in line with the roles and responsibilities of the agriculture and forestry department, and adhere to product standards and legislation.

Led by the Department of Forestry (DOF), among the participants were the Forest Inspection Department, Department of Industry and Handicraft, Department of Import and Export, the Lao Wood Processing Industry Association, the Lao Furniture Association, representatives from the European Union Delegation to the Lao PDR and the International Trade Centre (ITC).

During the meeting, participants discussed adjusting various items on the product list. They also defined standard sizes, and increasing or decreasing the standard size for certain products. The discussions are in response to the Government’s Wood Processing Sector Export Roadmap (2021-2025), which the government launched in collaboration with ITC under the ARISE Plus project with the support of the European Union. The roadmap aims to improve the sector’s competitiveness by enhancing the legal and regulatory framework, as well as promoting sustainability by reducing illegal logging and increasing the use of certified wood.

“Building upon our natural resources and timber production capacities, the Lao PDR’s wood processing sector has tremendous potential to drive economic growth, generate employment, and support diversification. We must work together as a team towards achieving our goal – making sure our timber industry is sustainable and efficient while also complying with international regulations,” said Mr. Sousath Sayakoummane, Director General, Department of Forestry, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

“The EU is strongly committed to support green and inclusive growth in Lao PDR. In this regard, the Team Europe Partnership with the Lao PDR to increase sustainable and inclusive trade, investment and connectivity in the agriculture and forestry sectors (TICAF) is expected to start early 2024” said Ms Cecile LEROY, EU Green Deal programme manager, of the EU Delegation to Lao PDR, after presenting the EU Deforestation Regulation.

One promising outcome of the meeting is the focus on promoting more sustainable practices in Lao PDR’s wood processing sector, leading to responsible and sustainable practices that adhere to product standards and legislation. The meeting also facilitated collaboration between different departments and organizations, enabling Laos to make significant progress towards its goals. The government has also engaged the business community and international partners, with the ARISE Plus project’s participation demonstrating the availability of international support towards achieving sustainable economic growth.

Source: Lao News Agency