Lao-EU Forest Law Enforcement, Government and Trade towards Voluntary Partnership Agreement Process (Lao-EU FLEGT VPA)



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The FLEGT process was initiated in Lao PDR in 2010 when the Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry and Industry and Commerce submitted a letter to the EU expressing interest in participation in FLEGT.

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In 2010 and 2011, a mission team from Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MOIC), together with representatives from the EU and GIZ, conducted a “Baseline Study and Timber Flow Study” for Laos to compile key information needed for preparing implementation of FLEGT VPA.

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On 28 February, MAF, MOIC and Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) sent a letter of interest to the EU to initiate participation in the VPA.

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On 5 July, an agreement between the Government of Laos and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany formalized the development assistance by Germany through the Project Support to the Lao-EU FLEGT Process (ProFLEGT).

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In 2014 and early 2015, the Governors of Khammouane, Sayaboury and Attapeu provinces issued approvals for the Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office (PAFO), Provincial Office for Industry and Commerce (POIC) and Provincial Office for Natural Resources and Environment (PONRE) in each province to implement a FLEGT pilot program.

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On 15 June, the Prime Minister Office (Government Office) has approved the start of the FLEGT VPA negotiations between Laos and EU (Decision No. 986/PMO).

On 2 October, Dr. Phouang Parisak, Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), was appointed by the National Steering Committee as the Chief Negotiator to lead the Lao delegation in the negotiations with the EU.

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In May, the Prime Minister ordered a complete halt of timber exports from Laos – this is also known as Prime Minister Order 15 (PMO 15). The PMO 15, among other measures suspended exports of logs, sawn timbers, etc. that are harvested from natural forest. Based on Chinese and Vietnamese customs data for 2016, the amount of timber imported in China and Vietnam is decreasing. The implementation of PMO 15 took place in 3 provinces: Sayaboury, Khammouane and Attapeu.

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On 17 February, the Department of Industry and Handicraft (DOIH) of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MOIC) decided to support the development on input/output monitoring for wood processing and timber traders. When enacted, it will define the rules for operational control and compliance monitoring for the timber supply chain for timber being moved between timber traders and processors. A trial testing phase in the FLEGT pilot province and a training programme for the private sector was agreed.