04 Nov Myanmar, EU discuss forestry cooperation

Written by Mizzima Published in Environment Read 4938 times
The European Union wants wood and wood products from Myanmar that have been legally logged. Loggers work loading logs in north-eastern Myanmar, April 26, 2004. Photo: Barbara Walton/EPA The European Union wants wood and wood products from Myanmar that have been legally logged. Loggers work loading logs in north-eastern Myanmar, April 26, 2004. Photo: Barbara Walton/EPA

The European Union and Myanmar’s Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry recently held discussions about how Myanmar can encourage sustainable management of the country's forests and eliminate the illegal timber trade.

The two parties met in Nay Pyi Taw on October 20 and looked at how Myanmar could engage in the "FLEGT Action Plan," according to a press release from the European External Action Service November 4.

In 2003, the EU adopted the Action Plan for Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) which includes measures, for both the EU and wood-exporting countries, to fight illegal logging and promote trade in legally harvested timber and timber products. At the core of the EU FLEGT Action Plan are Voluntary Partnership Agreements or VPA with timber-producing countries that wish to eliminate illegal timber from their trade with the EU, according to the press release.

These agreements allow for the licensing of legally harvested timber while the partnership negotiation process provides an opportunity for stakeholders in the timber-producing country to get involved in developing national legality standards, and to reach a consensus on forest rights.

The underlying rationale behind the programme is to help preserve forests, use sustainable practices in forestry, and to try to make sure that the wood and wood products the EU imports are not the result of illegal logging.

Under the VPA, the timber-producing country develops systems to verify that its timber exports are legal, and the EU agrees to accept only licensed imports from that country.

Encouraging responsible stewardship and the legal trade of timber products is said to be one of the priorities of the Myanmar government who requested a FLEGT partnership preparation phase in 2013.

At the meeting, the Myanmar side reiterated the government's commitment to the FLEGT process which promotes good governance, rule of laws, and transparency. The discussion reconfirmed that the joint FLEGT VPA preparatory phase towards negotiations was now underway, with a workshop planned for December in anticipation of rolling out the programme in the country.

Last modified on Tuesday, 04 November 2014 16:04