|Type of Agreement |
|Voluntary Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Liberia on forest law enforcement, governance and trade in timber products to the European Union (FLEGT)|
|Place of Signature|
|Date of Signature|
|Date of Entry Into Force|
|Agreement Suspension Justification|
|Objective of Agreement|
The objective of this Agreement, consistent with the Parties' common commitment to the sustainable management of all types of forest, is to provide a legal framework aimed at ensuring that all imports into the Union from Liberia of timber products covered by this Agreement have been legally produced and in doing so to promote trade in timber products. In addition, this Agreement provides a basis for dialogue and cooperation between the Parties to facilitate and promote the full implementation of this Agreement and enhance forest law enforcement and governance.
The European Union’s response to tackle illegal logging is set out in the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan in 2003. The cornerstone of this policy is the FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). The VPA is a bilateral agreement between the EU and wood exporting countries, which aims to improve forest governance and ensure that the wood imported into the EU has complied with the legal requirements of the partner country. Although there is no obligation for any country to enter into a VPA with the EU, once agreed they are legally binding on both parties, committing them to trading only in wood products that can be verified as legal. Under these agreements exporting countries develop systems to verify the legality of their timber exports to the EU. The EU supports partner countries to establish or improve systems which verify legal compliance. In December 2005 the Council authorised the Commission to negotiate partnership agreements with timber-producing countries in order to implement the Action Plan and, in particular, to encourage trade in verified legal timber imports into the EU from partner countries. The Commission entered into negotiations with Liberia in March 2009. The VPA focuses on governance and law enforcement and, by means of the licensing system, provides the assurance that Liberia’s timber is legally produced. It exemplifies Liberia’s commitment to improving accountability and transparency. The VPA will support on-going regulatory reforms that will strengthen the legal framework, in order to promote sustainable management of forests and to strengthen the involvement of local communities in decision-making processes. The Agreement clearly indicates the areas where reforms are needed and sets out a time frame for these. The present Agreement establishes the framework, institutions and systems of the FLEGT licensing scheme. It sets out the supply chain controls, the framework for monitoring legal compliance and independent audit requirements for the system. These components are set out in the Annexes. The Agreement goes beyond the limited product coverage proposed in Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 2173/2005 on the FLEGT scheme: it covers all exported timber products, including wood chips, a common by-product of commercial agriculture concessions. Liberia is committed to establishing a system that will provide assurance to the EU that all timber products from Liberia are legally produced and so contribute positively to Liberia’s growth. The Agreement establishes a mechanism for dialogue and cooperation with the EU on the FLEGT scheme, via the Joint Implementation Committee. It also establishes principles of stakeholder participation, social safeguards, accountability and transparency, and monitoring of and reporting on implementation of the Agreement.
|Parties to the Agreement|
Joint Implementation Committee (Article 19)
|Relation and Association with Other Agreements|
8201-Voluntary Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Ghana on forest law enforcement, governance and trade in timber products into the Community (FLEGT)