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Forest Law and Governance (FLEGT)

Fern works with partners to improve forest governance and strengthen tenure rights of local communities by using the EU FLEGT process, which also aims to control the import of illegal timber in the EU.

Fern’s analysis: Around half of the tropical timber and 20 per cent of timber from boreal forests imported into the EU is illegally sourced. Illegal logging destroys forests and damages communities, but it is hard to tackle because it is often an integral part of a nation’s economy, giving financial support to political parties and companies. Fern believes the challenge is to address the root causes of illegal operations: corruption, unclear tenure situation and the excessive influence of the timber industry.

Fern's monthly newsletter Forest Watch also includes regular updates. Partners in country provide regular updates of the process in their country on the website: To sign-up to Forest Watch, please click here.

To learn more about FLEGT see this seven minute animation which explains all of the issues:

This short film introduces you to some key people involved in VPA processes:

To find out about Fern's FLEGT related projects visit the EU Map of FLEGT projects, by clicking on the link below:

Most recent publications

International groups demand investigation into Berta Cáceres murder

A group of more than 50 international organisations have written to the Honduran President to demand an independent international investigation into last week’s killing of the environmental and indigenous rights campaigner Berta Cáceres, and called for guaranteed protection for her family and colleagues, including the Mexican activist who witnessed her murder.

PDF iconLetter_Berta_Caceres983.51 KB

Is DRC planning to lift moratorium and open world’s second largest rainforest to industrial logging?

A group of national and international NGOs, including Fern, have issued a statement warning that plans by the Democratic Republic of Congo to lift a moratorium on new logging concessions threatens to cause environmental destruction, social abuses and corruption in the world’s second largest tropical rainforest, and undermine efforts to prevent climate change.

PDF iconDRC_moratorium_statement251.54 KB

BLOG: Despite reservations, we should stick with EUTR to tackle illegal timber trade

By Lindsay Duffield

Last week, UK newspaper the Guardian published a scathing article about a core EU regulation to prevent the trade in illegal timber, citing incomplete implementation and ‘no clear evidence’ that the EUTR is having any real effect on the illegal timber trade.

But the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) is still in its infancy and, according to the latest European Commission report, is ‘highly relevant’ with the ‘potential to achieve its objectives’.

Protecting forests, improving livelihoods - Comparing community forestry in Cameroon and Guatemala

This report conducts a comparison between the experience of community forests in Guatemala and in Cameroon. Community forests in Guatemala have met with some success, in some cases becoming effective enterprises at the same time as achieving some of the best conservation results in the country. By contrast, Cameroon’s community forests have been plagued with elite capture, corruption and mismanagement by private logging contractors. This has caused devastation to forests, with the majority of community members seeing little to none of the revenues.

Forest Watch special - VPA update December 2015

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 VPAs. This edition is from December 2015.

PDF iconVPA update December 2015722.64 KB

Vietnamese NGOs call for improved forest governance through FLEGT VPA and free trade deal

The EU and Vietnam recently concluded a Free Trade Agreement and reaffirmed their determination to conclude negotiations for a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) promoting sustainable and legal timber trading. In a statement, a group of Vietnamese NGOs, supported by Fern, has reminded both parties that the only way to guarantee a legal and sustainable timber trade is through improved forest governance, and has called for civil society organisations to have a clearly defined role in the VPA process to ensure credibility though independent monitoring from the ground.

PDF iconstatement_Vietnam_VPA112.91 KB