At its meeting on 14 March, the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council expressed strong support for the EU FLEGT Action Plan when discussing the EU Court of Auditors’ critical report on FLEGT.
In its draft conclusions, the Council notes that FLEGT is “innovative,” based on a “sound assessment of the illegal logging problem, its drivers and possible measures to be taken”.
The Council considers the VPAs a key element of FLEGT and notes that much has been achieved in partner countries, particularly concerning “participation, transparency and democratic processes, clarification of the legislative environments and the concept of ‘legality’ of the timber harvest, as well as clarification of land tenure or capacity building, including for third-party controls.”
Fern’s response to the original report of the Court of Auditors highlighted some of that report’s shortcomings: principally that it had undervalued the colossal task that FLEGT was tackling: i.e., to bring about fundamental, meaningful changes in governance (FW209), often in a difficult context.
The Council states that the focus for the future should be to step up the FLEGT Action Plan’s implementation by ensuring effective implementation of the EU Timber Regulation, and by improving planning and reporting of the Action Plan’s various components, including VPAs.