VPA negotiations in DRC focus on legality definition
As negotiations continue for a Voluntary Partnership Agreement between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the EU, the teams are holding monthly video-conference meetings to discuss annexes to the bilateral agreement.
Progress is also being made on the VPA assurance system, with the teams discussing further on the legality definition and exploring ways to determine how compliance with legal requirements will be monitored once the agreement is implemented.
Members of the DRC's technical commission and some partners, including CIFOR, have begun exploring strategies to increase the involvement of the artisanal timber sector in the negotiations, especially with regard to their input on the legality definition and other annexes of the agreement.
Improving civil society engagement in the VPA dialogue remains a key focus of environmental and social NGOs in the DRC and the EU. In February, local and European NGOs met to discuss the process and to coordinate activities. NGO coordination work at local, national and international levels will continue over the coming months.