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Improving forest governance in Laos

In 2012, the Lao government expressed interest in negotiating a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union to address illegal logging trade and to improve forest governance. An unreleased sudy for WWF found evidence, through case studies in the southern provinces of Laos, that actions on the ground around the timber trade are undermining the commitments expressed by the Government to enter VPA negotiations. In the year since this study, various meetings have taken place in Laos to discuss the VPA, how to tackle illegal logging and improve forest governance. This briefing note aims to present the key findings of the WWF study to a wider audience, highlight recent developments and recommendations by Fern that should be addressed within the VPA process to strengthen forest communities’ rights and improve forest governance in an effective manner.