What is the EU FLEGT Action Plan?

The EU published the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan in 2003. The Action Plan sets out a range of measures available to the EU and its member states to tackle illegal logging in the world's forests.

Why was the Action Plan introduced?

Illegal logging has a devastating impact on some of the world's most valuable remaining forests, and on the people who live in them and rely on the resources that forests provide.

The EU is one of the largest consumers of timber products in the world. EU companies and governments that buy timber and timber products from suppliers in Africa, Asia or South America have a significant impact on illegal logging. If they unwittingly buy illegal timber, they create profitable markets for illegal loggers and undermine efforts to enforce forest law in timber-exporting countries.

If buyers purchase timber from producers that comply with national laws, pay for the timber they fell and act responsibly towards the local population and the environment, this will help reduce illegal logging.

What does the Action Plan contain?

The Action Plan sets out measures to:

  • prevent the import of illegal timber into the EU
  • improve the supply of legal timber
  • increase demand for timber from responsibly managed forests

The Action Plan's long-term aim is sustainable forest management. It focuses on seven broad areas:

  1. supporting timber-producing countries, including promoting fair solutions to the illegal logging problem
  2. promoting trade in legal timber, including developing and implementing VPAs between the EU and timber-producing countries
  3. promoting public procurement policies, including guidance on how to deal with legality when specifying timber in procurement procedures
  4. supporting private sector initiatives, including encouraging voluntary codes of conduct for private companies sourcing timber
  5. safeguarding financing and investment, including encouraging financial institutions investing in the forest sector to develop due care procedures
  6. using existing or new legislation to support the Action Plan, including the EU Timber Regulation
  7. addressing the problem of conflict timber, including supporting the development of an international definition of conflict timber

Previous initiatives

EU FLEGT builds on previous regional forest law enforcement and governance (FLEG) initiatives:

  • FLEG in Asia and the Pacific
  • the Africa Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (AFLEG) Ministerial Conference
  • the Europe and North Asia Ministerial Conference on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance.

Read more about previous initiatives at the World Bank website

More information

Download documents

EU FLEGT Action Plan (EN FR)

Regulation for the FLEGT licensing scheme (EN FR)

What is FLEGT? (CH EN FR NL TH)

Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade – the European Union approach (EN ES FR IND)