Can the EU’s fight against illegal logging help to preserve forest ecosystems in timber producing nations?

In 2003 the EU passed the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance, and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan, a path-leading framework to fight illegal logging and deforestation. However, fifteen years later there is still a lot of work to do until EU FLEGT unfolds a positive impact on climate change, forest ecosystems and local communities as intended.

In short it is aimed at improving forest governance and the preservation of nature and livelihoods via trade. To do so, multi-stakeholder engagement processes are foreseen for the Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA). VPAs are bilateral trade agreements between the EU and timber exporting countries which constitute a crucial element of the Action Plan. Negotiation and implementation have to include state actors, the private sector and the civil society. Six VPAs have been ratified already (with Cameroon, Ghana, Indonesia, Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, and Liberia). A seventh one with Vietnam was concluded in May 2017.