Lao Civil Society Organization Capacity is Strengthened for Effective Involvement in FLEGT VPA Process in Lao PDR

Public sector, private sector and civil society organizations (CSOs) have been actively involved in the Lao FLEGT VPA process  to support the forestry sector reform and to promote legal timber trade. CSOs capacity strengthening is one of core activities of Lao CSO FLEGT workplan to increase and enhance their voices in decision making process on the contents of VPA.  With financial support from FAO and technical support from GIZ ProFEB, the Lao CSO FLEGT organized two training workshops for 65 members from 25 CSOs respectively on 04th and 16th November 2021. The objectives of the training workshops were to (i) Update on current CSOs contribution to FLEGT VPA process, and progress and roadmap of Lao FLEGT VPA process, (ii) Present the basic concept of the functionality of Lao TLAS for household wood processing enterprise (HWPE), and (iii)  Provide insights of the timber input and output management under Decision No 0777/MOIC (2020).

During the training, the CSO members well have understood about current Lao CSO FLEGT  contribution to FLEGT VPA process, especially development of Lao TLAS elements and technical decision making before the negotiation with EU. They have also appreciated progress made on VPA and its Annexes and roadmap for agreement on the VPA until the end of 2022. Furthermore, they are aware of the basic concept of Lao TLAS operation of HWPE, particularly checking timber legality requirements before purchasing including the processing and trading requirements at mill. Finally, they have acknowledged the detailed timber input and output requirements of operator at mill under Decision 0777/MOIC to effectively report timber input and output to the Government authorities. In brief, with these training workshops, CSO members have gained detailed insights in the FLEGT VPA progress and its updated roadmap, so they are able to contribute more effectively to the process, have some basic knowledge on the concept of operation of Lao TLAS as well as the timber input and output management which they can apply and assist HWPE to meet TLAS requirements in the future.