One commodity, seven countries and several influences for legal wood

Illegal Log Marked by Police, Riau, Indonesia. Photo: Sophie Mardia / CIFOR

A.D. At the end of 2021 at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, a series of legal instruments aimed at tackling deforestation quickly followed.

In October, the FOREST Act was introduced in the United States Senate and Senate; A few days later, the UK Environmental Law was enacted; And On November 17, 2021, the European Commission issued a new regulation aimed at reducing deforestation and deforestation. Each of these rules, once finalized and in its own right, can change the global supply chain of goods related to deforestation and deforestation.

The European Union’s Forest Law Enforcement, Administration and Trade Action Plan, which is the source of much of the welcome effort, is a long-standing process to stop the illegal timber and timber trade launched by the EU in 2003. Because the process focuses on the entire supply chain – from production to processing to consumption – it rests on two different but related devices: one to prevent illegal logging in manufacturing countries; And to prevent another from entering consumer countries.

That first tool – Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) – is a trade agreement signed between the European Union and any volunteer timber country. Basically, the countries that have made the fight against illegal logging have given priority to the national agenda, and the EU is supporting similar efforts financially, technically and commercially.

So far, 15 countries have signed the VPA or are in various stages of negotiating with the European Union. More than a decade after the FLEGT action plan was approved and the first tropical wood country signing VPA (Ghana 2009), we decided to visit the seven countries (see graph) to see how it affected five sectors: governance and institutional efficiency; Illegal log; Forest conditions; Economic development; And living and poverty.

Influence of VPAs in seven countries.  Source: Poet-authors

Influence of VPAs in seven countries. Source: Poet-authors

Detailed results The summary of our findings on each country, topic, and topic in each of the seven countries is available at the CLEOR-ICRAF FLEGT VPA Library.

Here, we summarize what we believe are the main outcomes to be discussed because they provide important lessons for the future that focus on solving not just one product but many.

What have the VPAs achieved so far?

The findings point to significant improvements in manufacturing countries, although the strength of the VPA’s contribution to them varies.

VPAs have been instrumental in creating or improving basic re-distribution of power, promoting democratic processes, and promoting accountability. Evidence of effective multi-stakeholder participation, increased capacity of civil society organizations, and growing power in the role of guardians, primarily through the VPA process.

Impact on Institutions The often neglected VPAs encourage inclusion and coordination within the agency. In many countries, the VPA process has for the first time brought to the table a large number of related topics that require discussion and decision-making from several ministries (state administration, labor, finance, agriculture, mining, etc.). This has led to a multi-stakeholder forest of integrated action and service and increased recognition. When it comes to deforestation, deforestation and diversification, a ministry needs to be supported and coordinated so that it does not control the process.

VPAs have created a wave of control and legislative reform. In some cases, they promote a ‘follow-up’ attitude by promoting a tendency to reduce illegal forestry and trade in the industry and better enforce forest regulations. But this discovery requires competence. For example, while VPAs encourage the adoption of private third-party monitoring methods (such as security chains), while promoting initiatives between agencies, national data collection and analysis are still weak and need to be improved in some countries. If these trends are monitored.

Also, export markets, which tend to be dominated by large industrial companies, have benefited more from the regulatory focus on the legitimacy of the VPA process than from domestic and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). SMEs). This is the result of historical discriminatory regulatory frameworks that support industry logs, as in many countries – and for political attention – there is a general lack of information and a general lack of information. There are exceptions, especially for advanced countries in the VPA process.

Finally, the impact of the VPA process on livelihoods (such as material resources, health and access to public services) is very challenging and may not be realistic for some time. The most visible results – despite the variability between countries – are related to tax collection, which is integrated and improved; To better distribute certain taxes, especially those that have not previously reached local and indigenous communities; And to increase employment opportunities, including in the informal sector.

What will we learn in the future?

Four key lessons have been learned from our study. The first focuses on supply chain management. The ultimate success in combating deforestation and deforestation will depend on how the various products in their country are managed. Ideas such as ‘Environmental Appropriate Laws’, ‘Appropriate Deforestation’, ‘Illegal Deforestation’, ‘Risk Assessment’ and the like that complement the text of the new actions and regulations – from the VPA experience and impact on local governance and institutions.

However, growth in management and institutions has many facets, and VPAs teach us that such growth is often slow and that it is useless to hit the box. To top it off, our findings show limited success in the fight against corruption in the forest sector. But the war continued. Resisting strategic change and resisting historical interest is expected in some countries to remain strong regardless of the product, but the VPA process has been directly tested.

This should not include or read a lot of goods in the future. The VPAs have led civil society, local communities and indigenous peoples, as well as creators in the public and private sectors, into the ring. No matter what color product is, this is a legacy that needs constant support. Importers cannot turn their backs on these actors by placing a ‘high risk’ stamp on all exported countries. That does not save the forest.

The second lesson is about technology. Technological innovations will be key to supporting future efforts to trade deforestation. However, the main cause of deforestation, which VPA teaches us, is to expand agricultural land to produce goods and then develop sophisticated monitoring methods such as coffee or wood production; It is quite another to realize that such a system is inherently blind to certain fundamental rights, systemic inequalities, or historical errors. Such an understanding can only come about if the process is allowed to be questioned and monitored regularly.

This is one of the major achievements of the VPA process. Sometimes, this can seem confusing, expensive, uninteresting, and ultimately frustrating, especially if the expected outcome takes years to materialize or when the process seems to be going in circles or we cannot mark one of us. Boxes. But the same approach we want is only for other goods.

In fact, VPAs teach us a third lesson here. The key is to be able to identify where you are at any time (more or less). Over the years, the VPA community has increased its standard of inclusion and inclusion in its query and follow-up approach through review and audit.

It was a learning process and provided key recommendations for the realization of zero-deforestation in the future: the most relevant stakeholders in the developing world should support the construction of baseline lines and regular re-measurements. For those on the wrong side of the supply chain, millions of small holdings, individual manufacturers and SMEs. Most of our findings relate to out-of-country national impact monitoring systems. That must be changed by the obvious incentives (for obedience) and incentives (for disobedience) built into these systems.

The fourth and final lesson deals with the expected handling of change speed, direction, and strength. Using the example above, focusing on A, when should I start worrying because I don’t see any B or C signs? VPAs teach us that changes and influences vary in different topics, indicators and time and, most importantly, one should always expect a holistic view. The results show that the expected effects can be both before And Later Any specific date. And less material – albeit very important – can be influenced and developed in the process as a reliable global business partner.

As the new practices and regulations drive different processes and processes and the supply chain comes under intense international control and measures, we must strive to strike a balance between the overall vision and the realities. In order to reduce deforestation and deforestation, a number of agreed-upon chapters may and should not exist as political initiatives so as not to impede the process. But not being able to see the big picture should focus on any one to evaluate the performance in general, excluding others and this leads to very weak policy decisions.

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