A key requirement from the EU is that the VPA negotiations should entail a participatory stakeholder process involving government agencies, civil society groups, the timber industry and local communities.
In Laos, the multi-stakeholder approach has been formalized with a decision by the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry (No. 1868/MAF). The decision outlines the representation of government agencies, the National Assembly, academia, the timber industry and local civil society organisations (Non-profit Associations) in the Lao-EU FLEGT process. In addition to the relevant stakeholders listed above, the FLEGT Standing Office continues to engage additional vital stakeholders in the VPA preparation process. To raise awareness of the FLEGT VPA process among stakeholder groups in Laos, information are disseminated through the media.
In Laos, Thematic Expert Groups (TEGs) have been established that involve experts on the timber supply chain. These experts work on key topics from wood harvesting to point of export and have been established to elaborate main components of the Timber Legality Definition (TLD). Stakeholder Dialogue Facilitators have been engaged to support the Thematic Expert Groups (TEG) and other multi-stakeholder processes around FLEGT. The facilitators are key representatives from each stakeholder group who have been well trained to facilitate the dialogue within the group.