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Congo, EU renew their 2018 recommendations on forest governance

Congo, EU renew their 2018 recommendations on forest governance

The Republic of the Congo and the European Union (EU) have taken stock of the implementation of their Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) aimed at promoting good forest governance. Both parties have also agreed on their work for the second half of 2019. The VPA is part of the EU initiative on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT).


From left to right: Gilles ROUSSEY, First Advisor representative of the French Ambassador; Klaus Peter SCHICK German Ambassador; Rosalie MATONDO, Minister of Forest Economy; Aline FABING, FLEGT Facilitator, Palladium; and Raul MATEUS PAULA, Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of the Congo and Ambassador of the EU to Congo by EU FLEGT Facility

 

The Joint Implementation Committee (JIC) of the VPA between the Republic of the Congo and the EU met in Brazzaville on 5 and 6 June 2019. This tenth meeting of the JIC took stock of the implementation of the VPA-FLEGT since the previous JIC meeting held in November 2018.

The JIC found that the majority of activities and recommendations made during its previous meetings are either underway or not completed. It decided that previous JIC recommendations should be carried over for its next meeting, to be held later this year. The JIC did not adopt new recommendations.

The JIC discussed the deployment of the Computerised Legality Assurance System (SIVL in French), a software tool for managing data related to the traceability and legality of wood products. The JIC took note of the delay in implementing the SIVL deployment strategy. An inter-ministerial group mandated to prepare for the deployment of the SIVL was presented to the JIC. Depending on progress made by this group, on 15 November, the steps for the deployment of tax and legal aspects of the SIVL, as well as the special permits will be initiated first. If the group has not made sufficient progress, only the steps for the deployment of the SIVL related to tax aspects will be initiated. 

These special permits allow nationals to harvest non-timber forest products or a limited amount of timber in isolated areas destined for the local market. 

The JIC also discussed the work of the independent auditor of the legality assurance system. The independent audit is an essential component of this system. Its purpose is to review the timber legality verification system, report on it and verify that its components operate in compliance with the VPA. Some proposals were formulated to improve the general monitoring of discrepancies found by the independent auditor between the timber legality assurance system and the VPA requirements.

The parties discussed the delayed preparation of the 2018 joint annual report. They noted that this report must be finalised on 28 June 2019, validated by exchange of letters no later than 31 August 2019, and published as soon as possible.

Raul Mateus Paula, Ambassador and Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of the Congo, said that ‘the fight against illegal logging remains a high priority on the EU agenda and the VPA remains the appropriate solution.’ 

The JIC is made up of representatives of 11 Congolese ministries, the EU, civil society and the private sector. It provides an opportunity to maintain an inclusive and transparent dialogue between all stakeholders, in line with the approach adopted by the Congolese Government and the EU under the VPA.

The formal session on 6 June, co-chaired by Rosalie Matondo, Minister of Forest Economy of Congo and Mateus Paula, validated and formally adopted the decision and work of the technical experts that had met on 5 June.

The eleventh meeting of the JIC is scheduled to take place on 20-21 November 2019.

 

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