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FLEGT stakeholders in Asia identify capacity-building needs in regional workshop

A workshop aimed at providing a comprehensive overview of international timber market requirements and the available support programmes in Asia was held in Bangkok on 16 and 17 October. This workshop, the first of its kind, brought together in one forum representatives from the region's six main timber export markets: Australia, China, the EU, Japan, South Korea and the United States. 

Also at the workshop, organisations implementing programmes that assist timber-producing and timber-processing countries with complying with the new market requirements explained their roles and the kind of support they could provide. 

Participants from government, civil society and the private sector identified priorities for regional FLEGT support and capacity-building needs. Key areas identified were VPA stakeholder engagement, compliance with international timber market requirements (with an emphasis on SMEs), and support structures for the development and implementation of timber legality assurance systems.

Of particular note were participants' comments on involvement in FLEGT. Representatives from civil society organisations and the private sector expressed a keen interest in engaging intensively in the process but noted difficulties. Civil society organisations said that getting involved was often not easy, especially for local organisations. Private sector participants noted their lack of capacity to engage with and access support programmes. 

All groups agreed that they could gain a lot from regional exchanges, learning from countries that have progressed further in the FLEGT process. This element was clearly demonstrated throughout the workshop in the intensive exchanges between representatives from different countries and stakeholder groups. 

Further information can be found in the workshop concept note.