In 2003, the European Union (EU) first adopted its Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT). The scheme promotes good governance in the forestry sector around the world, with the aim of reducing illegal logging and strengthening sustainable forestry. It is designed to prevent EU-bound imports of illegal timber and wood-based products. The plan includes financial and technical support and advice to timber-producing countries, as well as measures to promote the legal timber trade.
Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) established between the EU and timber-producing countries are a central component of the scheme. Lao PDR has entered negotiations with the EU on a VPA, and the first Face-to-Face meeting is set to take place in the first half of 2017.
Throughout Asia, the EU’s FLEGT Action Plan focuses on promoting and facilitating international trade in verified legal timber – both within Asia and exported from Asia to other consumer markets. In particular, it aims to enhance understanding of emerging demands in key timber consuming markets and to promote the use of systems that assist buyers and sellers of Asian timber and timber products in meeting these demands.