This January 2020 Fern and LoggingOff’s update on the EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) shows the support the process is still receiving from civil society, governments and the private sector. It is written by Civil Society leaders across Africa, Asia and Latin America and shows their enthusiasm for the process despite the multiple challenges.
The message that comes across loud and clear is that FLEGT won’t be able to achieve its promise if we don’t stick with the VPAs until the end. As Justin Kamga from Cameroon says:
“In Cameroon, once the outside eye [the EU] stops looking and is no longer present, corruption returns – although it has decreased since the FLEGT process started.”
Environmental and human rights defenders are hopeful that the forthcoming Comprehensive Strategy with Africa mentioned in the EU’s European Green Deal and new measures linked to the Commission’s Communication on protecting and restoring forests will underscore the importance of FLEGT VPAs. Protecting forests and tackling climate change go hand in hand, and the fight against illegal logging must be an integral part of the solution.