Representatives from the government, civil society organisations and wood processing industry met in Vientiane on Aug 2 to discuss the updated Timber Legality Definition to take a further step towards better accessing the European Union (EU) market.
The discussion was made at a technical working group meeting held in Vientiane on Aug 2 under the chairmanship of Director General of Forestry Department, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Mr Sousath Sayakoummane.
The discussion was a preparation of the second face-to-face negotiation of FLEGT VPA (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade – Voluntary Partnership Agreement) between the Lao government and the EU which is expected to be held early next year.
A concrete definition of what legal timber is provides more clarity on the work towards sustainable forest management and good governance, subsequently resulting in an increase of forest cover to 70 per cent as set in the forest strategy 2020, Mr Sousath explained.
Via the Lao-EU FLEGT process, and particularly through improved timber flow monitoring in the pilot provinces of Khammouane and Attapeu, we can also contribute to the overall objectives of the Prime Minister’s Order No. 15, dated 13 May 2016 on Enhancing Strictness on the Management and Inspection of Timber Exploitation, Timber Movement and Timber Business, he added.
Laos is engaged in a VPA process with the EU which aims to combat illegal logging and associated trade. The FLEGT VPA process contributes to strengthening governance in the forest sector which also improves the foundations for sustainable forest management, said an expert at the EU FLEGT Facility – European Forest Institute, Mr Tim Dawson.
Initiated by the Lao government and supported by various national and international stakeholders, the Lao-EU FLEGT process aims at promoting good forest governance and eliminating illegal logging activities in Laos.
VPAs, bilateral trade agreements between the EU and a timber-exporting country outside the EU, are central to this scheme. Among other things, VPAs address illegal logging and foster trade in legal timber products.
Source: Lao News Agency