In June, ATIBT intervened at two major international events to defend private sector positions in the FLEGT Action Plan.
The first event was the « Illegal logging update & stakeholders consultation meeting « , organized by Chatham House in London. The meeting is part of a series of update meetings on the theme of illegal logging that will bring together more than 250 participants from civil society, industry and governments around the world. The meeting, conducted in English, French and Mandarin, provided an update on global efforts to improve forest governance and reduce illegal logging.
Topics covered included :
It is within the framework of this last subject that the ATIBT intervened to present the position of the private sector on the initiatives of independent observation. After recalling that the private sector recognizes the role of independent observation, the ATIBT stressed the limitations of these initiatives, particularly in terms of competence, independence and impartiality. The intervention of the ATIBT concluded on the need to review the selection of independent observation organizations, and the operating procedures.
The minutes of the meeting and presentations will be available on the following link : https://www.chathamhouse.org/event/illegal-logging-update-and-stakeholder-consultation-meeting-number-27
The second event was the Conference « Tackling Deforestation and Illegal Logging : progress made and opportunities for future action » organized by the European Commission in Brussels. There were around 250 participants from all over the world, divided equally between the different stakeholder groups (European administration and its member countries, producing country governments, European private sector and producing countries, European civil society and producing countries). The objective was to feed into the European Union’s 2017-2020 Business Plan, which will not only meet the objectives of the FLEGT Action Plan but also integrate the problems of deforestation and development objectives.
ATIBT was asked to make a presentation on the role of private certification and traceability tools for transparency and improvement of governance (the G in FLEGT).
Download the presentation : Promote transparency of the information in the forestry sector
Following the conference, ATIBT also responded to the European Commission’s call for positions and contributions to finalize the FLEGT 2017-2020 Business Plan (see the FLEGT Working paper). In its response, ATIBT stressed the importance of focusing on real governance changes in producing countries engaged in VPA processes, including:
1. Formalization of the forest sector:
1.Complete and improve legislation;
2. Develop national forest management guides;
3. Formalize the fabric of SMEs and create appropriate texts and guides if necessary.
2. Limiting corruption:
1. Develop and publish clear procedures for obtaining approvals and authorizations;
2. Develop electronic systems based on these procedures (dematerialization);
3. Develop and publish clear and objective control procedures to reduce the scope for different interpretations.
3. Improvement of the quality of independent observers (see also presentation Chatham house) and follow-up of legal procedures after checks.
4. Reducing the costs of national traceability systems:
1. Make use of available electronic data from forest companies’ traceability systems;
2. Step-by-step progress, including monitoring and evaluation in IT development to ensure that the system is usable by all companies (large enterprises and SMEs).
As a reminder: for the private sector, the APV / FLEGT process is a very important tool to combat unfair competition from illegal logging companies and to operate in a sane working environment. These are the reasons why the private sector of the timber industry wants to proceed safely with the VPA process. The content of documents such as legislative texts, the legality grid and the control procedures must be realistic and the legality verification system (LAS) financially applicable. Because if documents and LSAs are not feasible by all, they risk excluding some of the actors and / or having an inverse effect and increasing the share of the informal sector in the timber trade.
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