Skip to Content

Forest Law and Governance: Briefing note

Analysis of gender impacts of the Ghana Voluntary Partnership Agreement with European Union

Fern commissioned this study of gender issues in Ghana’s FLEGT VPA as a tentative first step to looking at gender issues which have to date received only scant attention.It offers TAYLOR CRABBE INNITIATIVE’s observations about how gender issues have been dealt with in Ghana’s VPA (which is virtually not at all) and thoughts about how they might be addressed as the process progresses. There is more to do, in terms of analysis and especially in terms of action. We hope this study will encourage readers to tackle gender issues within FLEGT VPA processes globally.

DocumentSize
PDF iconbriefing gender ghana final.pdf741.67 KB

Independent Forest Monitoring: a chance for improved governance in VPA countries?

The forest sector is particularly vulnerable to poor governance including corruption, fraud, and organised crime. Illegality in the sector generates vast sums of money and has helped fuel long and bloody conflicts. Even in countries that have good forest laws, implementation is weak and can be bypassed by powerful corporate and political interests that facilitate illegal production of timber. The consequences of illegal logging are well known: rapid deforestation, social disruption and loss of tax revenues. Even when not illegal, there is little evidence that industrial logging helps to reduce poverty in timber producing countries. Links between the logging industry and human rights abuses are, however, widely documented. 

Is Independent Forest Monitoring a chance for improved governance in VPA countries? Here are the lessons learned from Cameroon, Ghana, Liberia, and the Republic of the Congo. 

 

DocumentSize
PDF iconforest monitoring final.pdf514.15 KB

Communities & forests in Kenya: Where are new laws taking them?

On 26 May 2017, the still-new African Court handed down a landmark ruling on a case brought against the Government of Kenya by the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights on behalf of the Mau Ogiek forest dweller community. The judgement requires that the Government of Kenya respects the Ogiek’s ownership of the Mau Forest. It found insufficient grounds for evicting them on either the grounds of public or conservation interest.  The judgement confirmed that the main degradation of the forest stems not from Ogiek occupation, but state actions including the issuing of logging concessions. This Briefing Note, written in March 2017 looks closely at broader elements of the domestic legal situation affecting the right of Kenyan communities to own and manage forests on their lands.

DocumentSize
PDF iconbriefingnote kenya_final.pdf666.51 KB

A chance for change: A civil society briefing on the Voluntary Partnership Agreement negotiations between Vietnam and the European Union

This briefing takes stock of the VPA between Vietnam and the EU at a key juncture: as the Agreement formally moves from its negotiation to ratification phase.

It assesses the VPA – and the negotiation process – from a civil society perspective. The findings that emerge raise a number of concerns.

Vietnam has undoubtedly made steps to halt illegal logging within its own borders. The Vietnamese government has also made progress in recognising the value of civil society contributions. Yet despite this, up until the initialling of the VPA at least, civil society’s input into the process has been limited, and access to VPA texts has been restricted.

What’s more, when measured against the indicators of good forest governance – accountability, participation, transparency, coordination and capacity – the VPA process in Vietnam has so far fallen short of the standards expected.

DocumentSize
PDF iconA change for change_final.pdf923.25 KB

Making Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) work for forests, people and the climate: Civil society recommendations on the future of VPAs

As decision makers in the European Union (EU) and timber producing countries consider the future of the FLEGT Action Plan, and its Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA), civil society organisations and platforms from Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Guyana, Liberia, Honduras, Indonesia, Republic of the Congo, Vietnam, and Europe have issued Making VPAs work for forests, people and the climate a new briefing with recommendations for how to strengthen and upgrade the VPAs.

The briefing reflects on progress after a decade of implementation including looking at multi stakeholder participation, increased transparency and reduced illegal deforestation. It suggests concrete ways to address challenges and step up current efforts including increased enforcement of just laws, enhanced policy coherence, and inclusive decision making. If the proposed changes are taken on board, VPAs will continue to effectively contribute to governance improvements, forest protection and sustainable local livelihoods.

With growing recognition of the importance of forests for delivering climate and development goals, the EU and partner countries must refocus their efforts on VPAs. They are a unique experiment in working with all parties to tackle the underlying drives of deforestation such as over consumption and poor land rights. Now is the time to ensure that VPAs deliver on their promise and are ready to respond to the rapidly changing global environment.

DocumentSize
PDF iconbriefing VPAs.pdf565.81 KB

How to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals? Focus on forests

In September 2015, world governments adopted an Agenda for Sustainable Development with 17 universal Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030. The aims are noble and daunting – end all forms of poverty, fight inequality, address climate change, and ensure that no one is left behind. This leaflet explains why these goals cannot be met without changes to EU forest policy.

It is not enough to see forests as an ‘environment-only’ issue. Protecting forests and the communities that defend them is just as much about poverty eradication, food security, climate change, social justice and sustainable consumption and production patterns. Any EU response to the SDGs must therefore include the protection of forests and the recognition and promotion of the rights of those who live in them.

DocumentSize
PDF iconFocus on forests.pdf401.04 KB

Forest Watch FLEGT VPA Update November 2014

Every six months, FERN produces an update looking at the present situation with regards the EU's Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan, with a specific focus on Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs). This November 2014 example looks at VPAs in Africa, Asia and South and Central America and gives an update from the Community Rights Meeting.

DocumentSize
PDF icon2014 11 FW update.pdf847.17 KB

Pages

Most recent publications

ForestWatch VPA Update November 2017: A year on from FLEGT licensing

LoggingOff and Fern publish occasional Forest Watch updates detailing events in countries negotiating a Voluntary Partnership Agreement from a civil society perspective.

DocumentSize
PDF iconVPA Update Nov2017.pdf5.35 MB

Sacrificing South America’s forests on the altar of EU market access

The first trade talks between the European Union and the Mercosur bloc of nations - Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay – began almost 20 years ago. Since then they have stuttered through 28 rounds of negotiations, but this year it looks as if an agreement will finally be reached. A critical issue remains unresolved, however: the amount of beef the South American nations can export to the EU...

The fate of the Congo Basin forests must lie with its people

By Marie-Ange Kalenga

A light breeze of democratisation is blowing through the Congo Basin – and it is being driven by civil society.

Analysis of gender impacts of the Ghana Voluntary Partnership Agreement with European Union

Fern commissioned this study of gender issues in Ghana’s FLEGT VPA as a tentative first step to looking at gender issues which have to date received only scant attention.It offers TAYLOR CRABBE INNITIATIVE’s observations about how gender issues have been dealt with i

DocumentSize
PDF iconbriefing gender ghana final.pdf741.67 KB

Independent Forest Monitoring: a chance for improved governance in VPA countries?

The forest sector is particularly vulnerable to poor governance including corruption, fraud, and organised crime. Illegality in the sector generates vast sums of money and has helped fuel long and bloody conflicts.

DocumentSize
PDF iconforest monitoring final.pdf514.15 KB

Ghana is on the brink of a major advance in its fight against illegal logging. But now its forests face serious threat from mining.

By Samuel Mawutor

Between 1990 and 2005 Ghana lost an estimated quarter of its national forest cover. Illegal timber harvesting was rife, and poor governance and a lack of transparency plagued the forest sector.

Things began to change for the better from 2008 with the introduction of the Natural Resources and Environmental Governance programme, an initiative supported by international donors on the basis that Ghana agreed to reform its forest sector, and improve the governance of its natural resources more generally.

Pages