Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) between the EU and timber-exporting countries are among the measures of the EU FLEGT Action Plan, which aims to tackle illegal logging by improving forest governance and promoting trade in legal timber products.
- Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) between the EU and timber-exporting countries can help countries achieve multiple Sustainable Development Goals, because of both the commitments that are agreed and implemented in a VPA as well as the process to agree those elements.
- VPAs reach far beyond the timber trade. They also have positive impacts on democracy and justice, jobs and welfare, peace and security, climate change and biodiversity conservation.
- VPAs achieve this by strengthening each partner country’s legal and regulatory frameworks, making them more accountable and transparent, by modernising and formalising the forest sector, improving business practices, and by building capacities and institutionalising multistakeholder participation in decision-making.
- Fifteen countries are negotiating or implementing VPAs. These processes show how an incremental approach can create the space and trust needed to overcome the longstanding challenges VPAs expose.
- VPA processes do however take time. To change attitudes and overcome political challenges requires long-term commitment. Nonetheless, they are effective tools to contribute to SDG targets and therefore interesting mechanisms for donors to finance and support.