The Hanoitimes - This agreement is an important milestone in relation between the European Union (EU) and Vietnam in fighting against illegal logging and deforestation.
A voluntary partnership agreement (VPA) between the European Union (EU) and Vietnam on forest law enforcement, governance and trade (FLEGT) was signed in Brussels in the margins of the EU-ASEM summit on October 19, stated EU in its statement.
The VPA was signed by Sebastian Kurz, federal chancellor of the Republic of Austria, and Federica Mogherini, EU high representative for foreign affairs and security, on behalf of the EU and Nguyen Xuan Cuong, Minister for Agricultural and Rural Development of Vietnam.
The VPA will enter into force after being ratified by both the EU and Vietnam and will be binding upon the parties.
The aim of the agreement is to stop illegal logging and, through the FLEGT licensing scheme, to guarantee that timber imported into the EU from Vietnam is legally harvested.
This is the second VPA that the EU has concluded with an Asian country after Indonesia and is particularly significant given the importance of Vietnam in the global timber market, being one of the main hubs for processing and re-export of timber.
This agreement is an important milestone in our relations with Vietnam and in our fight against illegal logging and deforestation. Our commitment to the environment is not only a slogan, but a reality, stated Sebastian Kurz, federal chancellor of Austria and president of the Council.
The agreement establishes a Timber Legality Assurance system to monitor the timber supply chain and a FLEGT licensing scheme to ensure that only timber coming from legal logging can be exported to the EU market. The agreement also establishes a mechanism for dialogue and cooperation between the EU and Vietnam on the FLEGT licensing scheme, via a Joint Implementation Committee. Finally it establishes principles of stakeholder participation, social safeguards, accountability and transparency.
The FLEGT endorsed by the Council in 2003 proposes a set of measures, including support for timber-producing countries, multilateral collaboration to tackle trade in illegal timber, support for private-sector initiatives, and measures to discourage investment in activities that encourage illegal logging.