The Department of Forestry (DOF), Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), launched a workshop on 20 October 2015 with the Thematic Expert Group on log landing 1 to 3 related to the sustainable management of production forests throughout the country. This multi-stakeholder initiative is part of the Lao EU-FLEGT process (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade).
“DOF embarks on the management of production forest as we aims to improve its data management and analyse records of log materials registered at various points from the point of harvest to processing factories throughout the country, apart from the fact that gaps on illegal logging activities contributing to forest degradation could be further identified” said Mr. Thong Eth Phayvanh, Deputy Director of DOF. “By engaging in the FLEGT process, we also contribute to the process of defining timber legality as part of the current negotiations between Lao PDR and the European Union (EU) on a Voluntary Partnership Agreement for FLEGT to promote legal timber trade and sustainable forest management’, he added.
Illegal logging poses a major challenge for the establishment and maintenance of efficient markets and sustainable logging practices in a global economy that increasingly demands assurances of legal and sustainable production of wood and wood products. The benefits of tackling illegal logging and promoting legal timber trade are an increase in state income from timber royalties, opportunities for industrial development, increased value adding wood processing, and less environmental damage and social problems.
“Sustainable Forest Management in Lao P.D.R has made a significant progress in Laos and achieved the certification of more than 80.000 ha of production forest under the internationally recognized FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) scheme,” said Mr. Heiko Woerner, senior international adviser to the German Development Cooperation project ‘Support to the Lao EU-FLEGT Process’ (ProFLEGT), implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). “The lessons learnt from the volunteer FSC certification process could contribute to develop a national timber legality assurance system (TLAS) not only for the production forest but also for timber from concessions such as hydropower and other infrastructure projects.
The Thematic Expert Group on log landing 1 to 3 comprises stakeholders from Government, timber industry and civil society, namely DOF, Department of Land Management (Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment), Department of Domestic Trade (Ministry of Industry and Commerce), Department of Property Management (Ministry of Finance), Department of Environment and Social Impact Assessment (MONRE), Department of Forest Resource Management (MONRE), Lao Front for National Construction, Faculty of Forestry (National University of Laos), Furniture Association, Wood Processing Association, Lao National Chamber of Commerce, WWF, and representatives from Khammouane pilot province.
As part of the Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) to combat illegal logging globally, the European Union (EU) is concluding Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA) with timber producing countries. A VPA is an international trade agreement to reduce illegal wood harvesting and promote legal timber trade.
Laos has started to negotiate such an agreement with the EU, with assistance from the GIZ project Support to the Lao EU-FLEGT process (ProFLEGT).
ProFLEGT is a joint initiative of the Lao Government and the German Development Cooperation. It is working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (through the FLEGT Standing Office under the supervision of the Department of Forest Inspection, DOFI), Ministry of Industry and Commerce, and Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, as well as other Government agencies, civil society organisations, academia and timber processing industry.
You can download the press release HERE