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Côte d’Ivoire begins legality verification discussions following second VPA negotiation session with EU in Brussels

After an introduction of timber legality verification concepts during the second VPA negotiation sessions, the Technical Negotiation Committee, with the support of GIZ, the German agency for international cooperation, organised a three-day workshop in Abidjan from 16 to 18 July to introduce these concepts to a wider group of stakeholders. About 30 people, including public officials, leaders of civil society organisations and the private sector, participated in technical discussions and working group sessions. Participants broke into small groups to discuss possible approaches for Côte d'Ivoire. Both the legality definition and verification will be explained in detail in annexes to the Côte d'Ivoire–EU VPA.

The EU FLEGT Facility shared examples and lessons learnt from other VPA countries. Session leaders proposed practical tools to help stakeholders define which evidence of legality to use to verify that timber and timber products are legal. Participants also reviewed descriptions of the current national verification functions and supply chain controls. Participants made recommendations, agreed on a tentative work plan and proposed a thematic group on verification. Details are described in the minutes of the workshop, which are available on request.

Representatives of Côte d'Ivoire and the EU met in Brussels previously from 24 to 26 June for the second negotiation session of the VPA. Negotiators agreed on a broad range of products to be covered by the VPA, discussed the legality definition and began work on legality verification and public information policies. 

The scope of products to be covered by the VPA will be described in the agreement's Annex 1. The legality assurance system of Côte d'Ivoire will first cover all export destinations and later domestic trade as well. A national working group will examine better regulation of the domestic timber market.

Negotiators also discussed the legality definition, building on discussions that have taken place through technical sessions since late 2013. For more details about the negotiation session, see the aide memoire and the annexes, including the roadmap

For more information, see the FLEGT area of the website of the Ministry of Water and Forests.