The FLEGT Technical Working Group, at its meeting on 15 December 2016, finalized key parts of the draft timber legality definition, to be submitted to the European Union by end of 2016, under the recent initiative led by the Government of Lao PDR and other stakeholders involved in the Lao-EU FLEGT Process (Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade). The submission is crucial preparation for the first face-to-face negotiation between the Government of Lao PDR and the EU on the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA), scheduled for late February 2017.
“The proper definition of legal timber is very crucial towards improving sustainable forest management and good governance in Lao PDR, as it helps to enhance understanding among relevant government staff and private sector in the forestry and timber industry, especially when it comes to forest inspection practices”, said Mr. Khamphout Phandanouvong, Director General of the Department of Forest Inspection (DOFI), and the Head of the National Support and Development Committee for the Lao-EU FLEGT process. “The Timber Legality Definition allows us to identify gaps and redress and improve areas of legislation and regulation that are difficult to implement, impractical or confusing”, he added.
Once the legal definition of timber has been developed, through multi-stakeholder platform and discussion with the EU, a field test of the legality definition is conducted. The test allows an additional review of the definition to ensure applicability in the field.
During the workshop, participants also had a chance to discuss the scope of the FLEGT VPA negotiation regarding product, market destination and timber sources. A presentation of the supply chain control and verification procedures will show the importance in the FLEGT VPA process. The first drafts of Timber Legality Definition on wood processing and trading, and conversion areas were also discussed during the workshop.
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