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Forests make an important contribution to Gabon’s economy, and provide jobs and livelihoods for people in the country. Gabon exports 90% of its timber production, mainly to China and Europe. Illegal logging, driven by trade, is one of several contributors to deforestation. Following a ban on the export of logs in 2010, the timber industry now focuses on producing processed products.

Gabon and the EU began negotiating a VPA in September 2010. Awareness raising, consultation sessions and forest sector assessments helped stakeholders identify forest governance challenges and build the legality definition. The EU and Gabon have had initial discussions on the legislation and indicators to include in the VPA legality definition and the basis on which to build a timber legality assurance system. However, progress has been slow and there has been no negotiation session since 2011Nevertheless, the VPA process has enabled stakeholders to come together and work on the forest law reform process.

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