New updates on the Timber Trade Portal
Indonesia has met the final major requirements of its Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the EU and is on course to become the world’s first country to issue FLEGT licenses. This news was published by the EU-FLEGT facility on the 21st of April, 2016. This means that the EU can now proceed to complete the necessary procedures to make the Indonesian FLEGT licensing scheme fully operational. The VPA describes a timber legality assurance system capable of verifying the legality of timber products. When fully operational the timber legality assurance system will issue FLEGT licenses to accompany Indonesian exports of verified legal timber products to the EU. As FLEGT-licensed timber is considered a ‘green lane’, due diligence obligations will lapse for EU importers. Exports to other markets will still be accompanied by V-Legal Documents.
The most recent uploads on ETTF’s Timber Trade Portal are the ones of Malaysia, Liberia and Cameroon. These countries are all involved in the VPA process with the EU. Liberia and Cameroon are both in the VPA implementation phase, while Malaysia is still negotiating a VPA with the EU. The Malaysian forest sector varies quite significantly among Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia, with each state having its own timber tracking procedures.
Also the status of forest certification in Malaysia varies significantly among the different states. The principal certification scheme in Malaysia is the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS), which has been endorsed by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). The current MTCS-certified area is mainly located on Peninsular Malaysia and covers around 3.7 million hectares. This was around 4.5 million hectares at the end of 2015, but recently the certificates of Johor State Forestry Department and Kelantan State Forestry Department have been suspended. FSC certification in Malaysia is mainly concentrated on Sabah and to a lesser extent on Peninsular Malaysia.
In Cameroon forest certification has progressed rapidly in the past years, which mainly includes OLB and FSC-certificates. A national PEFC certification scheme, PAFC Cameroon, is currently under development and is likely to become active in the near future.
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