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Stakeholder groups in Laos help further VPA negotiations

The National Negotiation Support and Development Committee, with support from the EU FLEGT Facility, identified the key elements of a roadmap for VPA negotiations during a stakeholder workshop in Vientiane on 26 February. The FLEGT Standing Office will coordinate the effort to turn this roadmap into a broader plan for negotiations. 

Several stakeholder groups indicated a strong commitment to proceed with VPA negotiations. 

In discussions between the EU and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Vientiane on 27 February, the Ministry stated that the two steps essential to advancing the VPA are to secure high-level commitment and to build capacity for the relevant actors so they can engage in the process. The Government of Laos sees the VPA as being in line with its own national policies and development targets. The VPA process will also benefit the ongoing revision of land and forest laws. 

A key group of private operators is well aware of the benefits of the VPA for Laos and has been supportive during the Government's preparations to engage in the negotiation. Local non profit associations and international non governmental organisations are beginning to explore the opportunities the process may bring.