On November 24-26, members of the FLEGT VPA Technical Working Group (TWG) from key government agencies from MAF and MOIC, Khammouane, Attapeu and Vientiane Provinces, the private sector and the Lao FLEGT CSO network discussed draft procedures for the verification of the legal compliance of operators, their timber products and required supply chain control and options how FLEGT licenses will be issued to exporters of timber products, once the Lao TLAS is fully operational. The consultation meeting was held in Thalat, Vientiane Province, organized by the FLEGT Standing Office and facilitated by technical advisors from the GIZ project Protection and Sustainable Use of Forest Ecosystems and Biodiversity (ProFEB). The meeting was the second event in a series of consultation workshops on verification and licensing with FLEGT VPA stakeholders.
During the first day of the workshop, representatives from the Department of Forest Inspection (DOFI) under MAF and from the Department of Import and Export (DIMEX) under MOIC presented the outcome of the first workshop, held in October 2020. Furthermore, the participants discussed the link between the future TLAS and the new Decision on Input and Output Monitoring for Wood Processors and Traders (Decision 0777/MOIC 2020) and a draft Instruction on the export of plantation timber, currently drafted by MOIC/DIMEX. On the second and third day, the participants worked in groups on the amendment of existing drafts procedures and presented their group work to the plenum. The result of the group work and discussions was used to further develop verification procedures and the licensing scheme. The participants agreed to design the verification in the TLAS as a complementary function to regulatory inspections of all involved sectors in order to prevent duplication of work.
The revised drafts of verification procedures and the work flow of the licensing scheme will now be piloted for timber from conversion areas in Attapeu, Nam Kong 3 Hydropower project and timber from tree plantations in Champassak and with Burapha Company in Vientiane Province.
In February 2021, the TWG will gather again for the next consultation step, review the experiences from the piloting and propose further amended drafts to the National Support Development Committee NSDC which will submit the result of the consultation the EU. Laos plans to start negotiations with the EU on verification and licensing in the Lao TLAS at the end of the first quarter of next year.