Lao Technical Working Groups (TWGs) develop verification procedures for the Lao Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS)

Verification procedures are one of the key elements of the Lao TLAS to verify compliance of operators with Timber Legality Definitions (TLDs) and Supply Chain Control (SCC). With the support of the GIZ Project “Protection and sustainable use of forests and biodiversity” (ProFEB), TWG members representing line ministries, the private sector and CSOs held several meetings between January and March 2022 to discuss and agree on procedures to effectively verify the legal compliance of operators for all timber sources, including SCC of wood processing and timber trading.

The TWGs discussed in detail the principles and functions of: (i) regulatory inspection, and (ii) verification of legal compliance with TLDs and Supply Chain Control. Furthermore, the TWGs discussed and identified critical control points for each supply chain and defined which activities must be carried out, what information needs to be recorded and who should take responsibility for these tasks. In addition, the responsible verification bodies (DoFI or PoFI) were identified for each critical control point. They will be responsible for timber data validation, reconciliation and timing of the verification.

Based on the joint development of procedures by all TWG members in a multi-stakeholder process, regulatory bodies and verification bodies will effectively inspect and verify the Lao TLAS implementation. The proposed verification procedures will be presented to the national support and development committee (NSDC) for technical approval before presenting and negotiating with the EU in the 5th Joint expert meeting (JEM5).