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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

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

Comment on the COP21 - a forest perspective

Forests barely feature in the draft text, but runaway climate change could devastate the forests which more than a billion people directly rely on for their survival. Forests also play a crucial role in regulating the climate. Whichever way you look at it, the outcome of the Paris agreement is also an outcome for forests.
Kate Dooley  is in Paris, tracking the developments in the UN climate summit. She has written this overview of the talks from a forests perspective for Fern. Check back later in the  week for  further perspectives from Kate and other contributors.

How FLEGT is making a difference in the CAR

The new transitional government of the Central African Republic is in the process of drafting a new constitution, and, for the first time, many forest communities have been consulted about their country’s future. The Voluntary Partnership Agreement between the CAR and the EU is one of the tools that has been used by civil society actors to make their voices heard.

More focus, more resources needed to halt illegal logging

Press release: Fern responds to European Court of Auditors Report on EU’s efforts to halt illegal timber:

The long-awaited European Court of Auditors report on the EU Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) contains “welcome recommendations” but “omits key information”, says Saskia Ozinga, Campaigns Co-ordinator at social and environmental NGO Fern.

PDF iconPress release auditors report285.39 KB

NGO analysis of Cameroon ER-PIN

Next week, Cameroon government’s Emission Reductions Programme Idea Note (ER-PIN) will be discussed during the 13th Carbon Fund meeting of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). Local NGOs, in the form of the Communities and Forest Platform, as well as international NGOs, including Fern, have analysed the ER-PIN and have submitted their response, which expresses concerns about the process by which the ER-PIN was developed, as well as its content.