The first round of negotiations on a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on forest law enforcement , governance and trade (FLEGT) between the European Union and the Government of the DRC took place on 15 February 2011 in Kinshasa. The main activity of the responsible committee during the subsequent six months was the preparation of a legality grid. Negotiations were suspended because of the general election and lack of finance from Belgium, the main funder of the process. Activities were relaunched in 2012 with the appointment of a new focal point in MECNT.
There has been poor participation by higher level officials of the forest administration in sub-committee meetings. Appointments and participation by members of the National Assembly are also still lacking. At present, civil society has three delegates, but the process remains on the technical level with very little communication to the rest of the population. VPA-FLEGT is a positive initiative, but it will be difficult to apply in the current situation, especially since illegal exploitation of timber has reached worrying proportions due to the uncontrolled issue of artisanal logging permits.
|Title||First session of the negotiations of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the European Union.|
|Organisation||Technical Committee to negotiate the UE - DRC/MECNT partnership agreements.|
|Date||15- 17 February 2011|