THE EUROPEAN Commission has strengthened its support to the implementation of the EU Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) by contributing € 4.5 million to the EU FLEGT Facility at the European Forest Institute (EFI). This support will primarily support the process of negotiating and implementing Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA), bilateral trade agreements between the EU and wood exporting countries. These agreements aim at improving forest governance and introducing national verification systems checking the legality of timber imports into the EU. The EU FLEGT Action Plan sets out a new and innovative approach to tackling illegal logging building on market incentives.
Risto Päivinen, EFI director, and Roberto Ridolfi, head of Unit in EuropeAid-F-3, countersigned a new grant agreement between EFI and the European Commission (EC) this month in Brussels. This brings the EC contribution to EFI’s EU FLEGT Facility to a total of € 12,800,000. The Facility trust fund is also supported by growing contributions from DFID and the Finnish Government. Other EU Member States are planning to support the FLEGT Facility in the future.
The FLEGT Facility was set up to support the implementation of the EU FLEGT Action Plan. It supports the negotiation and implementation of Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs), which are bilateral trade agreements between the European Union and timber product exporting countries to improve forest governance in partner countries while reducing the import of illegal timber products into the EU. Also, the Facility is starting the execution of the regional Asia FLEGT support programme, fostering good governance and legal timber trade in a range of countries in South East Asia and China.