From 9 to 11 March 2022, the EU delegation to Laos, the German Embassy, KfW development bank in Laos, and GIZ Laos, together with their implementing partners undertook a visit to the projects related to the protection and sustainable use of natural resources in Luang Prabang Province.
One of the highlight topics of the visit was the current engagement of Lao PDR in the FLEGT-VPA process with the European Union. Lao PDR officially approved the involvement in the FLEGT-VPA process negotiation with the EU in 2015. The official VPA preparation and negotiation with the EU started in 2016. The Lao-EU FLEGT VPA process was provided with both technical and financial support by GIZ Project Protection and Sustainable Use of Forest Ecosystems and Biodiversity (ProFEB), commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
In the FLEGT VPA process, Laos must ensure that all sources of timber and timber products including plantation timber from Laos to the EU, other export markets as well as the domestic market, have been implemented and verified according to the national Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS).
During the visit to Luang Prabang, ProFEB together with government and private sector stakeholders of the FLEGT-VPA process organised a visit to the Teak Plantation Group at Ban Kok Ngiew to see the best practice of Smallholder Teak Plantation. The study group could get an insight into the organizational set-up and functioning of the groups, benefits and challenges of being a member of such a group and which markets they are supplying. In addition, the Department of Forest Inspection (DoFI) and FLEGT Standing Office (FSO) presented the background and status of the FLEGT multi-stakeholder process in Laos and shared how FLEGT would impact their business in the future.
Another site-visit was given to Thinakone wood processing factory which utilized only teak timber from plantation. At the factory, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce representatives presented the regulation on the management and monitoring of timber input and output at the operator’s premises, which requires operators to set up their internal management system to ensure each critical control point in production is recorded. The factory owner shared experiences of his participation in the FLEGT-VPA process and highlighted the benefits and challenges.
The sustainable production, utilization, domestic use and export of plantation timber and timber products is currently a high priority of the Lao government, reflected in the forest law and the forest strategy. This gives factories like Thinakone wood processing the opportunity to support sustainable sourcing of raw material and engage with smallholder plantations and support local livelihoods.
Fore more information please click the link to access the video on Lao National Television 1 : ໂທລະພາບແຫ່ງຊາດລາວຊ່ອງ 1