ຍິນດີຕ້ອນຮັບເຂົ້າສູ່ເວັບໄຊທທາງການຂອງລາວ FLEGT

Lao EU-FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) Process

Voluntary Partnership Agreement

Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) are a key component of the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan to address illegal logging.

Each VPA is a bilateral trade agreement negotiated between the EU and a timber-exporting country outside the EU. While parties enter into VPA negotiations voluntarily, the agreement becomes legally binding when both parties have ratified it.

The details of each agreement, however, are unique to the national context of each partner country, as they are based on national laws and the priorities of national stakeholders. The outputs of each agreement though normally include:

A VPA seeks to ensure that timber and timber products imported into the EU from a partner country comply with the laws of that country.

To achieve this, a partner country must first decide which parts of its national legal framework it will use to define timber legality. The country must also have, and describe in the VPA, a system to ensure legal compliance and issue legal products with FLEGT licences. In most cases, a country will build on existing systems to achieve this.

 

What is special about a VPA?

A VPA differs from a typical bilateral trade agreement in several ways.

  • First, while it is the EU and a national government that negotiate a VPA, the content of the agreement is decided in the partner country through a deliberative consultation process that involves stakeholders from government, the private sector and civil society. This means, for instance, that national stakeholders decide how to define legal timber according to the laws in that country.
  • Second, unlike in most other trade agreements, the two parties negotiate towards the same goals – eliminating illegal timber and improving forest governance.
  • Third, a VPA embeds legal and governance reforms in its processes and text. The reforms are those that stakeholders identify as necessary to ensure a VPA is credible. This means a VPA can improve transparency, accountability and participation in decision making.