Voluntary Partnership Agreement Countries

FLEGT and Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA)

A Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) is a legally binding trade agreement between the European Union and a timber-producing country outside the EU.

 

The VPA is a central part of the FLEGT Action Plan. A country’s VPA is modified and adapted to country specific circumstance and systems, enabling countries to make it their own, work best for them and ‘own’ it. This country-wide engagement and discussion process takes time to get right and perfect but enables an agreement that works best for all stakeholders.

 

The TTF strongly supports FLEGT and all countries engaging with the VPA. The latest project to engage European stakeholders, primarily end-users of FLEGT/ VPA countries timber is a design competition, exhibition and event series entitled ‘Conversations about Climate Change‘.

EU FLEGT Facility

CONVERSATIONS ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE

In association with the Building Centre in London, the TTF  are launching their design competition, exhibition and event series providing a platform for urgent climate debates.

Conversations about Climate Change is a design competition that sets architects, designers, and craftspeople the challenge of creating ‘conversations pieces’ from sustainably sourced tropical timber.

 

Winning designs will be provided with sustainably sourced FLEGT tropical hardwood sourced from VPA countries through TTF member, to ensure the use of sustainably sourced timber.

KEY DATES

Competition opens: 1st JUNE

Competition closes: 24th AUGUST

Winners announced: Beginning of September

 

EXHIBITION: 5th NOVEMBER – 5TH DECEMBER

COMPETITION OPEN

COMPETITION CLOSES

Conversations about Climate Change View and enter

Conversations about Climate Change View and enter

 

CAMEROON

Cameroon’s 18.8 million hectare forest land, contributes to almost 40% of the total land area (FAO 2015).

 

Forest land cover in Cameroon has declined at a rate of 1.0%  annual over the last 25 years. Cameroon’s deforestation is largely a result of conversation to agriculture, mining, infrastructure development and unsustainable/ illegal logging.

 

The forestry sector contributes around 8% of Cameroon’s GDP. Cameroon is the largest exporter of tropical hardwoods to the EU from Africa, around 58% of exports equaliting to $532 million. Therefore, the Cameroon-EU trade in timber, has a role to play in addressing the problem of illegal logging and subsequent illegal trade.

 

SPECIES

  • Ayous (Triplochiton scleroxylon)
  • Azobé (Lophira alata)
  • Iroko (Milicia excelsa)
  • Kossipo (Entandrophragma candollei)
  • Movingui (Distemonanthus benthamianus)
  • Okan (Cylicodiscus gabunensis)
  • Sapelli (Entandrophragma cylindricum) 
  • Sipo (Entandrophragma utile)
  • Tali (Erythrophleum ivorense; Erythrophleum suaveolens)

VPA STATUS

2007 November: Negotiations started

2010 May: VPA Agreed and Signed

2011: VPA Ratified and Entered into force

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

Central African Republic’s (CAR) 22.2 million hectares of forested land, contributes to almost 36% of the total land area.

 

Forestry and the timber industry account for 40% of the country’s export earnings and around 4% of GDP. The country’s landlocked location and transportation infrastructure results in a higher processing of materials in country prior to export.

 

Political and military unresolve beginning in 2012 until 2016, disrupted country stability and progress with VPA implementation. Following democratic elections in 2016, stability has increased and a new found momentum towards the VPA and implementation of the legality assurance system.

 

SPECIES

  • Sapelli (Entandrophragma cylindricyum)
  • Ayous (Triplochiton scleroxylon)
  • Aniegré (Aningeria spp.)
  • Sipo (Entandrophragma utile)
  • Iroko (Milicia excelsa)

VPA STATUS

2009 October: Negotiations started

2010 December: VPA agreed

2011 November: VPA signed

2012 July: VPA ratified and entered into force

Côte d’Ivoire

Côte d’Ivoire’s 10.4 million hectares, contributes to almost 33% of the total land area.

 

Progress towards FLEGT has been included as a pillar of Côte d’Ivoire’s REDD+ strategy. Engaging with reforestation aims, the Côte d’Ivoire has increase the presence of teak, framiré and gmelina.

 

Deforestation has been largely attributed to forests converted to agriculture, some illegally. Having two VPA implementing country neighbours, Ghana and Liberia, this has been seen to prompt engagement with the VPA and FLEGT Action Plan. Acknowledging the importance of forests for ecosystems, trade and livelihoods the Côte d’Ivoire aims to restore their national forest cover to 20% by 2045.

 

SPECIES

  • Ayous (Triplochiton scleroxylon)
  • Iroko (Milicia excelsa, Milicia regia)
  • Framiré (Terminalia ivorensis)
  • Teak (Tectona grandis)
  • Azobé (Lophira alata)

VPA STATUS

2013 February: Negotiations started

Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) 152.6 million hectares of forested land, constitutes to 67% of total land area with one of the lowest deforestation rates in the tropics (0.2% across the last 25 years). Equal to 10% of the world’s tropical forests, the potential for FLEGT success is large.

 

However, the DCR has one of the highest deforestation rates in the Congo Basin (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon). The DCR is recognised as the most biologically diverse countries in Africa and one of the most important centres of biodiversity in the world.

 

Civil war and unrest has resulted in a lack of investment and has in part prevented the exploitation of the DRC’s forests. Deforestation in the DRC is largely attributed to clearing for agriculture, uncontrolled bushfires, cattle ranching, production of charcoal and illegal logging. Political challenges and size of the country have resulted in a challenging VPA process.

 

SPECIES

  • Doussie (Afzelia bipedensis)
  • Iroko (Milicia excelsa) 
  • Sipo/ Sapelli (Entandrophragma spp.)

VPA STATUS

2010 October: Negotiations started

Gabon

Gabon’s 23 million hectares of forest land, equaltes to 89.3% of total land area.

 

Gabon has a low forest loss level of 0.12% annual, largely due to the export value of timber. Deforestation factors in Gabon can be attributed to agriculture, urban development, mining and illegal logging. Timber is the second most important export after oil, therefore their VPA must continue to contribute to Gabon’s economy, providing jobs, livelihoods and protecting communities.

 

Progress towards the VPA has been slow due to negotiation obstacles but progress has enabled stakeholder engagement, awareness raising and forest law reform process.

 

SPECIES

  • Okoumé (Aucoumea klaineana)
  • Azobé, Bongossi (Lophira alata)
  • Okan (Cylicodiscus gabunensis)
  • Padouk d’Afrique (Pterocarpus soyauxii)
  • Beli (Julbernardia pellegriniana)
  • Tali, Missanda (Erythrophleum ivorense, Erythrophleum suaveolens)

VPA STATUS

2010 November: Negotiations started

Ghana

Ghana’s 9.3 million hectares contributed to 41% of its total land area. A third of Ghana’s forest cover was lost between 1990-2010 due to illegal logging as a result of poor forest governance, mining, cocoa farms and other agriculture.

 

Ghana’s forestry sector is the fourth largest contributor to Ghana’s GDP, with around a third of Ghana’s timber exports destined for the EU.

 

One of the main aims behind Ghana’s VPA was to target illegal logging that serves the domestic market. Having struggled with illegal logging for decades, Ghana has made considerable efforts to address the problem of illegal logging through its VPA and stakeholder engagements.

 

SPECIES

  • Teak (Tectona grandis)
  • Ceiba, Fromager (Ceiba pentandra)
  • Abachi, Wawa  (Triplochiton scleroxylon)
  • African mahogany (Khaya spp.)
  • Aniegre, Asanfina (Aningeria spp.)
  • Limba, Ofram (Terminalia superba)
  • Sapele, Sapelli (Entandrophragma cylindricum)

VPA STATUS

2007 March: Negotiations started

2008 September: VPA agreed

2009: VPA signed & entered into force

Having ratified their VPA with the EU, Ghana is in the final stages of their VPA, developing systems to control, verify and license legal timber.

Guyana

Guyana’s 18.5 million hectares of forest land, constitutes to 87.4% of total land area. Guyana’s forests are diverse with tropical rainforests, mangrove forests, swamp/ marsh forest and seasonal forests.

 

Deforestation rate in Guyana is estimated at 0.065% annual, largely due to mining for gold and bauxite – the largest exports from Guyana. Guyana’s forests have been recognised as one of the world’s largest remaining ‘frontier forests’ due to its valuable forest reservoirs for biodiversity and habitats.

 

Exports of timber products tend to be volatile to the EU: in 2016 this trade was worth $2.2 million, $5.1 million at its peak, and standing at $4.8 million in 2o19.

 

SPECIES

  • Wamara (Swartzia leiocalycina)
  • Purpleheart (Amarante, Purperhart) (Peltogyne venosa)
  • Mora (Mora excelsa)
  • Greenheart (Demerara greenheart) (Chlorocardium rodiei)

VPA STATUS

2012 December: Negotiations started

2018 November: VPA agreed

Honduras

Honduras’s 4.6 million hectares of forest area, constitutes to 41% of total land area.

 

Only a few tree species amount to significant timber trade although the forests of Honduras are very biologically diverse. Forest area includes tropical rainforests, mixed forests, coniferous forests and other forest types. The forestry sector contributed 0.82% to Honduras’s GDP in 2016.

 

The country has experienced deforestation due to exploitation for firewood and raw construction timber, forest fires linked to climate change and illegal logging. It is estimated that Honduras has lost 12.5% of its forest area since 2015, largely due to the clearing of forests which are medium maturity/ older age. However, the majority of forest clearing (88%) has been attributed to infestations of insect pests, linked to climate change.

 

SPECIES

  • Pines: Oocarpa and caribea (Pinus oocarpa, Pinus caribea)
  • Honduran Mahogany (Swientenia macrophylla)

VPA STATUS

2013 January: Negotiations started

2018 June: VPA agreed

Honduras was the first country in the Americas to enter VPA negotiations with the EU.

Indonesia

Indonesia’s 91 million hectare forest land, constitutes to 53% of the total land area. Forests can be distinguished under six types including tidal forests, mixed hill forests and submontane/ montane and alpine forests.

 

Through Indonesia’s VPA began the development of an timber legality assurance system for all timber exports called SVLK (Sistem Verificasi Legalitas Kayu). This is their version of a FLEGT.

 

Exporting a range of timber products from plywood, to pulp, paper. furniture and handicrafts amounting to $9.3 billion in 2016. Indonesia is one of the world’s largest exporters of tropical timber products primarily to Asia and Europe. In 2016, the forestry sector contributed 1% to the countries GDP.

 

SPECIES

  • Meranti (Shorea spp.)
  • Keruing (Dipterocarpus spp.)
  • Kapur (Dryobalanops spp.)
  • Mersawa (Anisoptera spp.)
  • Teak (Tectona grandis)

VPA STATUS

2007 March: Negotiations started

2011 May: VPA agreed

2013 September: VPA signed

2014: VPA ratified and entered into force

2016 15th November: FLEGT LICENSING STARTED

Indonesia is currently the only FLEGT licensed country!

Laos

Laos’s  9.5 million hectares of forest land, constitutes to around 40% of the total land area.

 

Deforestation rates in Laos since 1982m have amounted to approximately 0.7% annually. Forest cover has decreased from 49% (1982) to 45% (1992) to 41.5% (2002). The countries “resource frontier” has raised concerns about deforestation and land degradation, which has resulted in international communication, support and implementation of REDD+ mechanisms.

 

Laos’s forests split into conservation forest, production forest and protection forest. The complementary initiatives REDD+ and FLEGT in Laos work to increase technical and organisational investment, monitoring and law enforcement and improve capacity building.

 

SPECIES

  • Keruing (Dipterocarpus spp.)
  • Teak (Tectona grandis)

VPA STATUS

2017 April: Negotiations started

LAOS VPA

LAOS VPA

 

Liberia

Liberia’s 4.2 million hectares of forest land, constitutes to 43.4% of total land area.

 

The forest account for over half of the remaining rainforests in West Africa with a number of protected areas since the introduction of the Protected Forest Area Network Act (2003). Land conversion for agriculture and mining are the main drivers of deforestation in Liberia, however uncontrolled illegal/ logging is a significant attribute to forest degradation.

 

Liberia forestry industry and rural infrastructure was largely obliterated following the civil war from 1989-2003. Following efforts to reform Liberia’s forestry sector, considerable efforts have been undertaken to review the regulatory framework, development a national timber legality assurance system and traceability system and increase transparency.

 

SPECIES

  • Azobé (Lophira alata)
  • Niangon (Heritiera utilis)
  • Bossé (Guarea cedrata)
  • Iroko (Milicia excelsa)
  • Ayous (Triplochiton scleroxylon)
  • Dabema (Piptadeniastrum africanum)

VPA STATUS

2009 March: Negotiations started

2011: VPA agreed and signed

2013 December: VPA ratified and entered into force

Malaysia

Malaysia’s 22.2 million hectares of forest land, constitutes to 67.6% of total land area.

 

Timber is largely harvested from natural forests, timber plantations and agricultural areas. In addition these areas, Malaysia has Permanent Reserved Forest (PRF) area. Deforestation between 2000 and 2012 was at 1.6% largely due to the expansion of plantations from pulp, agriculture and timber.

 

Embarking on their VPA in 2007, these negotiations have proved to be the most difficult, largely due to Malaysia’s complex political situation. As one of the main exports markets for timber products, the EU is awaiting negotiations to continue since they ceased in 2014.

 

SPECIES

  • Meranti (Shorea spp.)
  • Keruing (Dipterocarpus spp.)
  • Merbau (Intsia spp.)
  • Acacia (Acacia spp.)
  • Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp.)
  • Rubberwood (Hevea brasiliensis).

VPA STATUS

2007 January: Negotiations started

Republic of the Congo

The Republic of the Congo’s 22.3 million hectares of forest land, constitutes to 65.4% of total land area.

 

Deforestation in the Congo has been relatively low compared to other tropical countries, however this is increasing due to agriculture, urban development and illegal/ unsustainable logging. Forestry was the main source of income driving the Congo’s economy until the discovery of oil.

 

The Republic of the Congo export around 20% of timber to the EU, demonstrating the role of trade in addressing the problem of illegal logging. In order to address this across the country, the Republic of the Congo has included the production of timber for the domestic market in agreements of the VPA, typically primarly concerned with international trade.

 

SPECIES

  • Okoumé (Aucoumea klaineana)
  • Sapelli (Entandrophragma cylindricum).
  • Ayous (Triplochiton scleroxylon)
  • Bossé (Guarea cedrata)
  • Iroko (Milicia excelsa)
  • Kossipo (Entandrophragma candollei)
  • Limba (Terminalia superba)
  • Padouk (Pterocarpus soyauxii)
  • Sipo (Entandrophragma utile)
  • Wengé (Millettia laurentii)

VPA STATUS

2008 June: Negotiations started

2009 May: VPA agreed

2010 May: VPA signed

2013: VPA ratified and entered into force

FLEGT VPA in Congo - Website

FLEGT VPA in Congo - Website

 

Thailand

 

Thailand’s 16.4 million hectares of forest, account for around 32% of total land cover.

 

Thailand’s forest are split between natural forests (41%), regenerated forest (35%) and planted forest (24%). Recognising the contribution to economy, livelihoods and communities, Thailand has planned under the 12th National Economic and Social Development Plan to increase forest cover to 40%. Thailand has been a country of significant illegal logging issues, since forest decreased from 50% of land cover.

 

The majority of Thailand’s timber demands come from imports. Efforts to increase forest land and eradicate illegal logging through FLEGT aims to change this dependency.

 

SPECIES

  • Keruing (Dipterocarpus spp.)
  • Teak (Tectona grandis)

VPA STATUS

2013 September: Ambition as formally announced

2017 June: First negotiations took place

Thailand VPA

Thailand VPA

 

Vietnam

Viet Nam’s 14.8 million hectares of forest land, constitutes to around 48% of total land area.

 

The country’s rich biodiversity including tropical rainforests, evergreen forests, mangrove forests and bamboo forests are home to many endemic species and ecosystems. Timber often originates from plantations due to logging and export laws, including species of Acacia and Eucalyptus.

 

As one of the world’s largest exporting countries in timber and timber products, exports were valued at $7.66 billion in 2017. Viet nam’s environment for foreign direct investment and low-cost labour force, put it at a strong competitive advantage for FLEGT and the timber industry.

 

SPECIES

  • Acacia (Acacia spp)
  • Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp)
  • Merbau (Intsia bijuga, Intsia palembanica)
  • Teak (Tectona grandis)
  • Keruing (Dipterocarpus alatus)
  • African mahogany (Khaya senegalensis)

VPA STATUS

2010 November: Negotiations started

2017 May: VPA agreed

2018 October: VPA signed

2019 June: VPA entered into force

Vietnam aims to have TLAS in place in 2020, where it is expected that a FLEGT licence will follow shortly after.