The Presidents of Indonesia, the European Commission and the European Council today confirmed that Indonesia has met the final major requirement of its Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the EU and is on course to become the world’s first country to issue FLEGT licences.
European Commission evaluates EU Timber Regulation implementation: finds progress but needs more effort
The European Commission (EC) recently released a report that evaluates the first two years of implementation of the EU Timber Regulation, which went into effect on March 3, 2013. Since then, some Member States have developed guidance and campaigns to publicize the requirements of the regulation and taken action against operators who are not in compliance.
On March 8th, the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA), using information provided by Greenpeace, filed a formal report on non-compliance with the public prosecutor about a Dutch timber importer who has breached the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR).
FLA 14th Semi Annual Membership Meeting, December 15th and 16th, 2015 | Guest Presentation Summaries
The 14th semi-annual membership meeting of the Forest Legality Alliance took place in December 2015. It was attended by 104 people from 78 different companies, NGOs, and government bodies and lively discussion was held on three main topics: timber legality in the Congo Basin, updates on the Lacey Act in the guitar industry, and the recent Lumber Liquidators Lacey Act case. Short summaries are below.
The Forest Legality Alliance will be participating in several events at this year's Asia-Pacific Forestry week, including leading Thematic Stream 1: Pathways to Prosperity: Future Trade and Markets in partnership with ITTO. In addition, FLA will be presenting "Opportunities and challenges for market access" (Session 2 in Stream 1) and "Updates on Timber Trade and Timber Legality" (Session 3.7 in Stream 1).
The United States’ largest hardwood flooring retailer was sentenced on February 1, 2016 after pleading guilty in October to importing illegally harvested timber from areas including forests in the Russian Far East. Lumber Liquidators will pay $7.8 million in criminal fines, $1.23 million in community service payments and will forfeit nearly $1 million in assets for importing illegally sourced hardwood flooring.
Illegal logging is an enormous problem in Peru, as shown in recent studies and reports highlighting the phenomenon’s impact on the country’s forests, including an Al Jazeera documentary exploring the links between illegal logging and corruption. A recent government audit found evidence of timber laundering, where exporters make illegally logged wood appear to be legitimately harvested.
Forest defenders—from indigenous groups to government authorities—continue to struggle in stopping illegal logging. Faced with scant resources, rampant corruption and vast tracts of difficult terrain to monitor, being an effective forest manager is often an impossible task.
On October 7, Lumber Liquidators agreed to plead guilty to several violations of the Lacey Act, among other charges. The largest hardwood flooring retailer in the United States will have to pay a combined $13.2 million for importing illegally harvested timber from areas including forests in far eastern Russia and other compliance issues.