The Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) provides information on the trade in timber products between Liberia and European Union (EU), and also covers domestic timbers and those designated to countries outside the EU. It provides a way by which Liberia can address problems associated with illegal logging, improve forest management, and strengthen opportunities for trading timber products in European and other markets. What remains to be seen is whether the VPA implementation addresses issues and areas of governance and law enforcement that are critical to strengthen key institutions and improve their functionality as well as firmly establish the rule of law that delivers benefits to stakeholders, especially rural communities.
The VPA Liberia signed with the EU in May 2011 promises to address the verification problem through a licensing system which is expected to be operational in 2013. The VPA provides a framework for a broad reform agenda to help ensure that revenues realized from the timber sector will be distributed fairly. In addition, Liberian exporters will be obliged to supply verified legal and certified sustainable timber products in line with the current trends in requirements in the US and EU. In order to achieve this EU will have to provide both technical and financial support to the Liberian Government to address the large gap between intended functions and actual capacity of government services, private sector operators and civil society to fulfil their regulatory and law enforcement functions before a Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) License can be issued.
|Title||FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement between Liberia and European Union|
|Organisation||Forestry Development Authority, VPA Secretariat, and European Commission|
|Date||May 9, 2011|