Cote d’Ivoire began negotiating a VPA in 2013. A civil society platform was slow to establish but is now working towards having a real influence on forest reforms connected to the process.
Forests cover 22% of the land area of Côte d’Ivoire, but only 2% of the country is covered by primary forest. Most of the country’s forests – once the largest in western Africa – have been heavily logged. The forest cover has shrunk from 12 million hectares in 1960 to 2.5 million hectares today. Forests contribute to the national economy, and an estimated 150 000 cubic metres of timber is exported each year.
Côte d’Ivoire and the European Union remain engaged in the negotiation of a voluntary partnership agreement. Despite the low frequency of negotiation sessions (only two formal sessions have been held since 2016, the last of which took place in May 2017), important progress can be credited to the negotiation process.
The VPA is based on existing legislation and regulations enforceable in the forest sector. In July 2014, Côte d’Ivoire passed a new Forest Code. The participatory drafting of the Forest Code implementing regulations launched in April 2016 was almost complete when a new legal reform process aimed at restoring Ivorian forests was undertaken by the Government, mid-2017; so far this process has been less participative.
National stakeholders recognise that, thanks to the FLEGT-VPA, participation of the civil society and the private sector in the design of the Forest Code application texts has become effective. For the first time, other administrations such as the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Land Planning and non-governmental actors are engaged in dialogue relating to the development of a new forest policy and a strategy for forest rehabilitation and restoration. This, in a context where the development of the cocoa and rubber industry threaten the remaining forest cover.
The year 2017 triggered a vast documentation process of the procedures relating to forestry activities. The need for written procedures was identified during the workshop on the establishment of a legality verification system, organised in November 2016 by the European Forest Institute (EFI). To date, 11 directorates and departments of the Ministry of Water and Forests (MINEF) have documented their procedures, and a draft guide to forest management procedures is being developed.
Finally, MINEF has set up a geographic information system, which includes a statistical database for the management of logging perimeters; it will be completed as of next year, using geo-referenced maps. This is an important innovation in the forestry sector and a step towards the establishment of a timber traceability and legality verification system.
Last updated in November 2017.
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