Improving Forest Governance in Asia
Illegal logging, which means forest extraction activities in violation of national laws, continues to be a major problem for Asian countries. It is responsible for political, socio-economic and environmental problems, including a loss of biodiversity and impacts on climate change. Estimates suggest that deforestation accounts for up to 20% of global carbon emissions. Furthermore, forests are particularly important for the poorest segments of society who live in remote forest locations where poverty reduction programmes often do not reach them, and their voices are rarely heard. Consumers and companies in Europe contribute to these problems by buying timber and wood products without checking the legality of their origin, providing huge incentives for illegal actors.
A brochure [17 MB] presenting the programme is now available (April 2010).
What is FLEGT Asia?
The Regional Support programme for the EU FLEGT Action Plan in Asia, commonly called "FLEGT Asia", is a €6 million Regional Programme executed jointly with the European Forest Institute (EFI). The programme started on 15 November 2008 and will run for four years. The official launch of the programme took place on 25 January 2010 ( press release [123 KB] )
FLEGT Asia aims at improving forest governance and thus at contributing to poverty reduction and sustainable natural resources management in Asia, through direct support to the implementation in Asia of the EU FLEGT Action Plan.
|The EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan was published in 2003 by the European Commission. The Action Plan recognised the role the EU should play as one of the world’s largest consumers of potentially illegal timber. The Action Plan set out a range of options for tackling poor forest governance globally, with particular focus on providing incentives and promoting markets for legally-produced timber products.|
In order to reach this objective, FLEGT Asia will be focused on the following three specific objectives:
• to facilitate the collection, analysis and dissemination of new and existing research/information relevant to the implementation of the EU FLEGT Action Plan in Asia;
• to strengthen FLEGT-relevant institutions and initiatives in Asia;
• to develop mechanisms, tools and increased capacity for cooperation between FLEGT-related enforcement agencies in the region.
The Programme will complement other FLEGT related activities managed under the EU FLEGT Facility. This Facility was formed in order to support the implementation of the EU FLEGT Action Plan in Asia. It is implemented by EFI.
Why is FLEGT Asia focused on the regional level?
The Programme aims at strengthening the regional cooperation. Support will be provided on a demand-led basis, and it is expected that this will mostly cover all countries in the South-East Asian region and will take into consideration trade links with China and India.
The regional focus of the programme will complement actions that are already taken at the bilateral level through Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) between the EU and timber-producing countries. VPAs form the cornerstone of the EU FLEGT Action Plan. These bilateral agreements, when operational, shall be supported by licensing scheme assuring that timber products exported from signatory countries (Partner Countries) to the EU have been legally produced. However, because of their bilateral nature, VPAs are not able directly to regulate the significant intraregional trade or trade from Partner Countries to third countries. FLEGT Asia intends to complement VPAs on a regional level by addressing fundamental sector challenges.
A FLEGT Asia Regional Office has been set up in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Asia commitment towards forest governance
The EC actively support Asia in its shift towards forest law enforcement, governance and trade. Commitments to tackle illegal logging and poor forest governance in Asia have been made in several forums:
• the Bali Declaration on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) adopted in 2001 by countries of the East Asia region;
• the EU-China Summit Statements in 2005 and 2006, adopted at Head of State level and mentioning forest governance;
• the Asia Forest Partnership in 2002 launched by Japan and Indonesia;
• the ASEAN Statement on Strengthening Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG), as well as with the conclusions of the Twenty-Ninth Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (29th AMAF) held in November 2007.