Foreign Affairs

Stakeholders Meet To Review Progress On Combating Illegal Logging

(KPL) Lao government continues placing its priority on combating illegal logging, promoting trade in legal timber products and sustainable forest management.

Purposely, the meeting on Negotiation Support and Development Committee (NSDC), held on Sep 18, brought together multiple stakeholders from line ministries, civil society organisations and private sectors, to review the progress and roadmap after the third round of face-to-face negotiations on a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) between Lao PDR and the EU in Belgium in June 2019.

During the NSDC meeting, Mr. Sousath Sayakoummane, Director General of Department of Forestry, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, expressed that Our third formal negotiations with the EU have once again shown that Laos is fully committed to strengthen forest governance of the country and that we have developed a very good basis for a functional Timer Legality Assurance System (TLAS).

One of the focus that has been highlighted by Director General of the Department of Forestry during the meeting is the support to the FLEGT VPA The support from all stakeholders is needed to address all action points and challenges that have been agreed in the FLEGT roadmap with the EU, as well as to strengthen forest governance in the Lao PDR towards sustainable forest management and a robust timber supply chain.

Part of the meeting was devoted to presenting and discussing the updated versions of the Timber Legality Definitions (TLDs) for timber from conversion areas, plantation and village use forests, as well as gathering feedback from involved stakeholders for further improvement. The European Forest Institute (EFI), who provides support to the implementation of the FLEGT Action Plan, also presented examples from other countries of how TLDs can be tested in the field and gave suggestions for the application in the Lao context. Field testing of TLDs and the trial testing of procedures following timber from the forest to the point of export along the supply chain and related verification by government authorities will be the main focus of the FLEGT work in the coming months. This will help to further strengthen TLAS of the Lao PDR and help to suspend illegal timber trade activities.

With the technical assistance of the German project Protection and Sustainable Use of Forest Ecosystems and Biodiversity (ProFEB), implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the FLEGT Standing Office (FSO), under the Department of Forest Inspection (DOFI), will continue to support the Lao government and its stakeholders in their effort towards a VPA with the EU.

Source: Lao News Agency