CIFOR launches new knowledge-sharing platform on FLEGT-VPA impacts

Published in 2003, the European Union (EU) Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan aims to curb illegal logging by improving governance, promoting trade in legally produced timber, and fostering legal and sustainable forest management.

Together with the entry into force of the EU Timber Regulation in March 2013, another key element of the FLEGT Action Plan is the signing of Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA), which are legally binding bilateral trade agreements signed between the European Union and timber-producing countries to ensure that only legally harvested timber is imported into the EU. As of 2019, seven countries had signed VPAs and two had concluded negotiations. In 2016, Indonesia became the first country in the world to issue FLEGT licenses.

As negotiations with other countries progress, there is a growing need to measure the impact of VPAs in the countries where they are implemented, ensuring that lessons are drawn, and processes improved. However, given the wide range of stakeholders involved in VPA implementation and forest governance, access to information can be a challenge to make an objective evaluation.

With these issues in mind, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), with the support of the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme, has launched a new online platform to compile existing literature and resources that can help measure the impact of VPAs. The VPA Library is expected to become a reference tool for researchers, government officials, civil society organizations and other actors currently engaged in monitoring FLEGT-VPA processes.

This initiative is open and easily accessible to all stakeholders, who can also contribute to grow the pool of knowledge and submit their own publications related to impact assessment.

While the platform currently focuses on the impact of VPAs in Indonesia, Cameroon, and Ghana, submissions on all VPA partner countries are accepted for future assessments to become more complete.

For more information, please visit the website of the VPA Library.

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