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Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission calls for more information and capacity on FLEGT

The Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission (APFC), one of six FAO Regional Forestry Commissions, convened in Rotorua, New Zealand, on 5–8 November to discuss policy and technical issues and forestry trends in the region. Among the more than 200 participants were delegates from 28 member countries and representatives from 16 regional and international governmental and non-governmental organisations.

During the convention, the Commission praised the progress made in recent years in developing measures to help countries address issues related to FLEGT. The Commission also offered suggestions to achieve further progress. In particular, the Commission requested that FAO, in collaboration with partner organisations: 

• continue efforts to raise awareness about FLEGT 
• build understanding of international demand-side legality requirements, through a regional mechanism or training workshops
• address FLEGT capacity-building needs through targeted support, with a focus on small and medium enterprises 
• explore establishing a regional mechanism for sharing information on illegal timber trade.

The Commission also encouraged FLEGT support programmes to continue to coordinate their activities and to more actively engage the private sector in these activities.

During the session on FLEGT, the delegations from Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam shared their views on VPA processes. They said that VPAs had contributed to improvements in forest governance and to the capacity to address illegal logging and trade in their countries.

Also high on the agenda at the APFC convention was reform of curriculums on sustainable forest management. Participants agreed that forestry education in the Asia Pacific region is outdated, and could benefit from the introduction of updated teaching materials, new teaching tools and better networking among university forestry departments. 

In response to this need, a project was launched on innovative sustainable forest management education in the Asia Pacific. The project will involve the development of six core courses on sustainable forest management, with suggested courses including governance, community development and international dialogues. 

For more information, please visit the commission website