News from Gabon
EU programme used to offer regional support of VPAs in Africa
The EU is using its regional programme ECOFAC 5, which focuses on fragile ecosystems, to promote FLEGT throughout the Economic Community of Central African States.
A regional FLEGT unit is in place to help facilitate and coordinate regional activities relating to VPA implementation (Cameroon, Central African Republic and Congo) or negotiations (Democratic Republic of the Congo and Gabon).
In April, a team of EFI experts helped establish a positive atmosphere of confidence and teamwork in the regional FLEGT unit. EFI offered support to guide and finalise the unit's work plan for July 2013 to June 2015.
The activities planned concentrate on four main aspects:
- Regional exchange on the implementation of the VPA, particularly of the Annex on Public Information. The objective is to encourage more widespread consideration of transparency and of legal documents from the legality assurance system, especially in the context of the EU Timber Regulation.
- Combined activities to encourage the private sector to take a larger role in VPA implementation. The objective is to balance the need for long-term commitment to the VPA with the urgent need for compliance with the EU Timber Regulation.
- Regional communication based on better understanding of FLEGT and VPAs as a way of improving forest governance. The objective is to show how the VPA will affect day-to-day practices.
- Introduction to specific regional issues to be highlighted, such as customs regulations, domestic markets and timber in transit.
Some activities for engaging the private sector are underway, with outcomes expected later this year.