FLEGT-VPA stakeholders finalize input to the draft TLAS v6.0

Apr 10, 2023 | News

From 2020 to 2022, Lao PDR has engaged in a series of consultations and piloting measures for the development of procedures for verification of compliance with timber legality definitions (TLDs), verification of supply chain control and licensing. Following the Negotiation Support and Development Committee (NSDC) meeting held in April 2022, Lao PDR has now developed Appendices to the Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS) combining Timber Legality Definitions and Supply Chain Control with concrete steps for inspection and verification of legality verifiers and supply chains. Furthermore, Laos agreed on an approach to an independent evaluation of TLAS and data-sharing principles.

From 14th to 16th March 2023, TWG members from the government, private sector and civil society gathered for a meeting to review the progress of consultation of single TLAS elements and jointly worked on the development of v6.0 of the TLAS Annex of VPA. The Technical Working Group (TWG) comments will be taken into account by the FLEGT Standing Office to develop a comprehensive draft for NSDC consultation and further negotiation with the EU.

The future of the VPA negotiation between Lao PDR and the EU is currently unclear due to the newly adopted EU Regulation on deforestation-free supply chains. However, in a recent dialogue with the EU, Lao PDR stated that it wants to continue the VPA until there is an equal alternative to the VPA considering the investment (political, human resources and financial) that has gone into the development.

The recent TWG meeting has agreed to further work on TLAS elements that are required to be developed by the Forestry Law while proposing to negotiate further with the EU on specific elements where the future is currently unclear (e.g. FLEGT Licensing and Independent Evaluation).

As the following steps, the TWG agreed to finalize the TLAS draft v6.0 by April 2023, revise Appendix A/B by June and prepare for an NSDC meeting in Q2/2023.