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EU, Côte d'Ivoire: negotiations on partnership to fight illegal logging

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Tuesday, 25 June 2013

EU, Côte d'Ivoire: negotiations on partnership to fight illegal logging

The European Union and Côte d'Ivoire announced on 13th June that they will launch negotiations of a new trade agreement – a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) - to combat illegal logging.

The VPA is a legally-binding agreement, designed to set up control and licencing systems to ensure that all timber imported to the EU from Côte d'Ivoire has been produced legally.
The agreement is conceived as of the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan; the FLEGT Program is a collaborative effort among the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the European Commission and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) to address forest law enforcement, governance and trade issues in ACP member countries.

The EU has so far concluded negotiations of VPAs with six countries: Ghana, Cameroon, the Republic of Congo, Liberia, Central African Republic and Indonesia (covering a total of 1.86 million km2 of forests.). These countries have undertaken significant reforms and are upgrading their traceability and control systems. Nine other agreements are under negotiation;

A new EU Timber Regulation, that entered into application on March 3, 2013, makes it a an offence to place illegally sourced timber on the EU market and obliges EU operators to take measures to prevent illegal timber from entering their supply chain.

Côte d'Ivoire has around 10,405,000 hectares of forest (more than three times the area of Belgium). However, in the last 50 years, the country has seen its forests reduced by 75%, due among other factors to pressures from the exploitation of timber and fuel wood.
Côte d'Ivoire exports 80% of its forestry products to the EU.

Source: European Commission