Noticeable achievements have been made in implementing a project on the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance, and Trade (FLEGT) action plan over the past two and half years (Sep 2015- Mar 2018) and these were reported at a regional project conclusion meeting held in Hanoi on Mar 2.
Participants from Laos to the meeting included representatives of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Laos), Department of Forest Inspection under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and the forest inspection unit of Village Focus International (VFI), relevant Civil Society Organisations and business community.
The achievements included contributions to drafting legal definitions of timber of production forest, infrastructure development area, farmed forest, village forest, seized timber, wood processing and timber trade, among others. The drafting is expected to be fully completed by the end of this year.
The implementation of the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance, and Trade (FLEGT) action plan is needed to ensure Laos’ accession to Volunteer Partnership Agreements which are legally binding trade agreements between the European Union (EU) and a timber-producing country outside the EU.
The government of Laos has completed the first face to face negotiation with EU governments in April 2017 and right now it is in process of preparing to hold the 2nd face to face negotiation which will be held by the end of this month, said Head of the FLEGT Standing Office Khamfeua Sirivong.
Supported by EU and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency – SIDA, the project also promotes the implementation of Order No. 15 (May 2016) as it has helped reduce the export of logs and beams from Laos to neighbouring countries like Vietnam.
WWF in cooperation with the Lao government and international organisations concerned promote the implementation of Order No 15, and, especially the cooperation between Laos and Vietnam on combating illegal trade of logs, wildlife and non-timber forest products, especially along the common border of the two countries, conducting joint patrol and exchanging information on illegal logging and trade.
Order No 15 is a significant step for the management of forest resources in the country. The stoppage of the export of logs and semi converted timber has helped mitigate unplanned and illegal logging. It also encourages the timber forest processing industry in Laos to improve their production to make sure locally made wood products meet export standards, said Director of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Laos Somphone Bouasavanh.
Meetings have been held in 11 target villages of the project to discuss forest management and regulations which have helped local people understand their rights and duties and benefits of participatory forest management. Twenty one family-run timber processing factories have also taken part in capacity building on standard improvement and occupational safety.
Source: Lao News Agency