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Monday, 05 July 2010

Project to develop legal framework for forest products in DRC

Seven years after the adoption by the European Union (EU) of the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) action plan, the state of negotiations to create a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) and to establish a legal framework for forest products in the DRC was presented last Saturday to members of the national multiparty working group for forest management (NWG). The presentation took place at the NWG workshop to launch the framework development project, held on 25-26 June at Lycée Dr Shaumba in the district of Gombe, Kinshasa, according to the Congolese press agency. The workshop objectives were to adopt the terms of reference as national advisory group in charge of preparing a first draft of the legal framework and to form an ad hoc working group charged with implementing the project. NWG President, Augustin Mpoyi, stated that the project was in preparation for the signing and implementation of the VPA with the EU. The legal framework is the main pillar of the VPA, according to the EU, and should be elaborated in agreement with all those stakeholders involved in the sustainable management of forests in the DRC. Mr Mpoyi further explained that in the DRC, the elaboration process of the framework had been entrusted to his institution, which comprised a multiparty group of different interest groups concerned by forest management in the country. Facilitator for the RDC NWG, François Makoloh, noted that the issues surrounding timber production are considerable, and called on participants to familiarize themselves with the principles of FLEGT and to develop the framework in order to reduce the illegal timber trade in the country. During the workshop, there was an exchange of information and opinions regarding the connections between the FLEGT action plan, the VPA negotiations, the framework development project, the presentation of the draft, and procedures to determine and check the legal status of forest products in the DRC. Particular emphasis was placed on the composition of the working group within the NWG charged with implementing the project. The workshop was organized with the support of the World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF), which will oversee the technical supervision of the project, in cooperation with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the EU.

Source: mediacongo.net