The project aims at supporting the stakeholders in Viet Nam in implementing the jointly agreed-upon actions for realising the objectives of the VPA. This includes improving legal, institutional, and operational conditions to align the TLAS (Timber Legality Assurance System) of Viet Nam with the requirements outlined in the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT).
To reach this objective, the project activities focus on:
Updating, enhancing the legal framework, and strengthening the institutional set-up for FLEGT VPA implementation,
Developing capacities at several levels for due diligence and verification along the value chain,
Supporting the monitoring and evaluation framework for the FLEGT VPA implementation, including the baseline assessment.
The project will deliver updated legal documents such as the “circular outlining timber traceability in Viet Nam” as well as updating Decree 102 to align the TLAS with all aspects of the FLEGT VPA.
Institutional and individual capacities of a wide range of stakeholders will be built for proper implementation of traceability, verification of imports, due diligence, and other facets. The baseline assessment and synthesis report will provide the basis for future FLEGT VPA impact monitoring.
Illegal logging and trade in illegal timber are global concerns that require conclusive and comprehensive actions. They are major contributing causes of deforestation, which accelerates the global impact of climate change and hastens the decrease of biodiversity.
To address these global challenges, the European Union (EU) presented the FLEGT Action Plan 2003. FLEGT is a package of measures designed to restrict illegal logging and trade in illegal timber worldwide. FLEGT addresses both the supply and demand sides of this issue.
Viet Nam’s timber industry has been developing rapidly over the last couple of years. In 2021, Viet Nam was the second largest country in Asia and fifth in the world in terms of timber export value — which reached nearly 15 billion USD according to Viet Nam’s Customs Data. Meanwhile, aside from imports from the United States, New Zealand, and numerous European countries, timber is also often imported from potentially high-risk areas, which are considered to be countries having a high incidence of timber sourced from illegitimate origins.
Recognising the global challenges with trade in illegal timber and the growing role of Viet Nam’s timber industry, Viet Nam and the EU signed the VPA on FLEGT in 2018 after six years of negotiations. With this, Viet Nam commits to exporting only legal timber products to the EU. At the same time, the EU agrees to give verified legal products – i.e. ‘FLEGT-licensed timber – automatic access to the EU market.
In 2020, Viet Nam issued Decree 102 stipulating its TLAS. While this marked an important step in the right direction, both parties agreed on follow-up actions to enhance the legal systems as well as the capacity of all stakeholders for its implementation over their last meeting in June 2022.
APPROACH/FIELD OF INTERVENTION
Capacity development is organized with relevant government agencies, such as the Viet Nam Administration of Forestry (VNFOREST) and the General Department of Customs. In collaboration with their respective training institutes, specialized curricula are developed, and practical training sessions organised.
The implementation of due diligence along the value chain strongly depends on the capacity and commitment of the private sector. Therefore, in collaboration with the Association of Viet Nam Timber and Forest Product and other local timber associations, training programmes are developed and implemented. They focus on enhancing the understanding and compliance with the provisions of the TLAS.
Other non-state actors are actively involved through the strengthened role of the FLEGT multi-stakeholder Core Group. They are an integral part of the FLEGT monitoring and evaluation process. As such, the baseline report is being developed together with them.
The project-specific gender guideline and action plan formulate concrete measures that will ensure gender equality and safeguards in activity implementation. More specifically, this will include mainstreaming equal participation of women and men in all project activities.
The implementation of the FLEGT VPA requires the active involvement and commitment of a multitude of stakeholders at all levels. It requires action and accountability of government agencies, timber enterprises, and non-state actors alike. The project, therefore, works with all relevant stakeholders. Its focus is on strengthening the capacity of the FLEGT Standing Office as the coordinating agency for planning and implementing the FLEGT-related policy framework, capacity development, and finalising the FLEGT VPA monitoring framework.
Institutional and individual capacities of a wide range of stakeholders will be built for proper implementation of traceability, verification of imports, due diligence, and other facets.
Supporting to organise FLEGT VPA Multi-stakeholder Core Group, Joint Expert (JEM) and Joint Implementation Committee (JIC) meetings in June 2022. These sessions were to review updates from stakeholders on the FLEGT VPA and TLAS (Timber Legality Assurance System) implementation. The working outcomes of each meeting were synthesized and discussed in the subsequent meeting to acquire a comprehensive view the current process of the FLEGT VPA in Viet Nam.
Coordinating an informative tour in the UK and European countries in July 2022 to promote market and trade transformation towards ensuring legal timber value chains. Joining the tour were delegates from government agencies and timber associations of Viet Nam and Laos. The participants have gained a more in-depth understanding of the import control systems’ function in the UK and Europe, as well as these countries’ policies and how to effectively implement them to remove illegally attained wood from supply chains.
Organising two media workshops in Quy Nhon and Dong Nai in September and October 2022 with the participation of more than 40 journalists and reporters nationwide. Through media influence, the workshops aim to enhance public information and supportive narratives around FLEGT VPA process in Viet Nam and the overall topic of timber trade and legality. The workshops focus on delivering accurate and simplified information on the timber industry and the implementation of FLEGT VPA. They also strengthen the trainees’ media and reporting expertise.