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Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Illegal logging: EU and Liberia to ensure legal origin of imported wood products

By early 2014, all shipments of wood products to the European Union from Liberia will be required to carry a license certifying their legal origin. A Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) to that end was signed on 9 May by the EU and Liberia, which contains over half of the remaining rainforest in West Africa. This agreement, made in Monrovia, underpins Liberia’s ongoing forestry reforms, driven by the Government's commitment to good governance and to ensuring that natural resources contribute to sustainable development. The agreement also gives European consumers the assurance that wood products imported from Liberia, including furniture and wood chips used for bio-fuel, are of legal origin. The Agreement comes in result of the strong mutual commitment to eradicate illegal logging and to bring more transparency to the timber trade. […] Florence Chenoweth, Minister in charge of forestry and agriculture in Liberia and Lluis Riera, Director in the European Commission, the lead negotiators, initialled the Agreement in the presence of President Sirleaf Johnson and EU Ambassador Pacifici. It is the sixth in a series of bilateral accords that are negotiated between the EU and timber producing countries (agreements have been agreed most recently with Indonesia, Central Africa Republic, Cameroon, the Republic of Congo and Ghana). Under the agreement, Liberia intends to set up a national system to ensure legal compliance in timber production, covering all wood products destined for the EU as well as those sold on the domestic market and to non-EU markets. The EU at the same time will guarantee unrestricted access to its market for all wood products coming from Liberia. These stronger control systems will also enable Liberia to stop illegal deforestation and environmental degradation that contribute to climate change.

Source: European Commission