We the organizations in the Civil Society Organization Coalition working in monitoring the
implementation of the Timber Legality Verification System (TLAS-SVLK) hereby deliver our joint
statement to the European Commission regarding interim findings of the European Union Timber
Regulation (EUTR) and Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Regulation Fitness Check. The FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) is a bilateral agreement between the European Union (EU) and timber exporting countries, with the objective of enhancing forestry sector governance and ensuring that timber and timber products exported to the EU are produced in compliance with rules and regulations in the partner countries. In VPA, partner countries develop legality assurance systems for the timber exported to the EU. To evaluate and assess the effectiveness of FLEGT and EUTR implementation, on September 2020 the European Commission held a FLEGT Fitness Check public consultation for 13 weeks (ending on November 2020).
The interim findings of the FLEGT Fitness Check delivered by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Environment in a multi-stakeholder platform meeting early March 2021 contained a number of conclusions, including: No evidence that VPAs have contributed to reducing illegal logging in the partner countries and the consumption of illegally -harvested wood in the EU. Slow and very costly processes. After 20 years of negotiations, only one country (out of 15) has an operating licensing system in place. The EU is also considering other alternative support mechanisms in the future to enable partner countries to comply with EU requirements and revoking the licencing scheme.