Regional deliverable: Asia
1. The Facility successfully integrated the FLEGT agenda into the relevant work plan of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). The Work Plan for Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) in ASEAN (2016-2025) was endorsed in October.
2. The ASEAN sub-regional timber legality assurance workshop provided a platform for ASEAN Member States to share information and improve mutual understanding of VPA processes and has built interest in regional actions.
3. China participated in the ASEAN sub-regional timber legality assurance workshop and, having seen evidence of the advances made by VPA countries, has suggested a mutual recognition mechanism between China and ASEAN countries, especially Indonesia.
4. The Facility provided the space for civil society organisations working on FLEGT in their respective countries to share national experiences, explore opportunities for regional exchanges and discuss roles they could play to engage at the national and regional levels.
5. The Facility updated the EC and EU Delegations on developments in other markets such as Japan, Australia, South Korea and China.
6. The Facility guided a gap assessment of Myanmar’s timber legality assurance system and an exercise to map stakeholders and their interests. Despite some tension around the start of the gap assessment related to the risk of a low level of participation and the related potential lack of objectivity of the results, the project has proven to be useful. It has identified weaknesses of the Myanmar system and, in the meantime, the illegality of Myanmar timber has been exposed internationally. The stakeholder mapping focused on identifying the level of influence and the level of interest of a wide variety of forest-sector stakeholders. This has been very useful as a first step that was able to highlight stakeholder’s interests publicly without raising controversy.
Regional deliverable: Africa
1. The Facility analysed trade in Africa as part of its 2016 focus. This included understanding current data related to African trade, networking with those working on the subject, and compiling statistics on certain African countries. Major trade issues that emerged include multiple and complex tariff barriers, non-tariff barriers and other barriers to intra-African trade. The Facility’s analysis also showed the lack of reliable data, including inconsistencies among sources, to be a key challenge. Discrepancies in the customs regimes between West and Central African regions present major political and technical bottlenecks.
2. The Facility worked to integrate forest governance into regional agendas and events, including those of the Central African Forests Commission (COMIFAC), the International Timber Trade Organization (ITTO) and Congo Basin Forest Partnership. The Facility also participated in and helped organise African participation in a China-Africa forests dialogue in Beijing. These events offered the Facility the opportunity to integrate VPA lessons into discussions of climate, trade and conservation.