On the 10th and 11th of January 2019, government agencies held a national consultation workshop to discuss on the final draft of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MOIC)’s decision on the management and monitoring of timber input and output in wood processing and trade sector. The meeting was chaired by Mr Somphong Soulivanh, Deputy Director General of the Department of Industry and Handicraft and joined by representatives of the prime minister’s office, state inspection, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Finance and provincial representatives from the Provincial Offices of Industry and Commerce from all Lao provinces.
„This decision is an important step in strengthening the timber supply chain control in wood processing and trade of the Lao PDR, and is a direct link to support PM 15 that strengthens timber management and suspends all illegal timber trade activities“ said Mr Somphong Soulivanh, Deputy Director General of the Department of Industry and Handicraft of the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft. „The system of supply chain control will show the source of the timber, and track it through the operators who trade, transport, and process the timber to ensure that all timber products are in compliance with the Law of the Lao PDR“ He added.
During the national consultation, MOIC collected feedback from other relevant government agencies for the finalisation of the decision. The input from other state agencies and the Provincial Industry and Commerce sector will be used to revise and agree on critical points within the decision.
The decision has been under development since early 2016, and will support strengthening management and monitoring of timber supply from wood processing companies and traders until reaching sales on domestic or foreign markets. It will mandate timber processors and traders to perform supply chain control, and set up an internal material accounting system for timber products entering and leaving operators’ premises. Processors are required to establish reports on timber recovery for all relevant processing stages, to be able to report to relevant state control entities. The policy will include not only the process for monitoring the balance of timber input and output through the business operator’s records, but also clear mechanisms for monitoring agencies to inspect traders and suppliers, and review their compliance.
The MOIC decision is an important part of the Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS). It is being developed with support of the component “ Support to the Lao-EU FLEGT process (ProFLEGT)“ of the German Development Cooperation programme Protection and Sustainable Use of Forest Ecosystems and Biodiversity (ProFEB), implemented by GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit). Since the Prime Minister’s Decree 15 that strengthened the strict enforcement of timber law and suspension of all illegal timber trade activities in May 2016, the FLEGT VPA (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade on Voluntary Partnership Agreement) process has worked to develop a system for assuring that the timber industry moves forward in compliance with the laws of the Lao PDR.