Recent developments in trade policies of key timber consumer countries, such as the amended US Lacey Act, EU Timber Regulation, and the Australian Government’s Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill, as well as the ongoing implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), have increased the need for producer countries to ensure verification of the legal origin of timber.
However, for the most part, tropical timber producer countries are not adequately prepared to meet such requirements. Compliance with responsible economic, social and environmental practices by forest operators is often limited to a few showcase areas. This is even more evident in indigenous community forestlands with high commercial value timber species, where loggers and traders often engage in unfair commercial practices, illegal logging, over-harvesting and timber theft with severe negative impact on the economy of indigenous and local community households.
Monitoring the origin and volumes of round wood and processed timber in forests, lumber yards, sawmills and timber warehouses is often limited. This is primarily due to weak institutions, poor governance and corruption in the forest sector. In many cases, poor implementation of policies is explained by “lack of capacity, limited operational budgets, high cost of needed technology” and “remoteness” of the forests./p>
PROFOR and the EU and DFID funded Forest Law Enforcement and Governance trust fund (FLEG-TF) have financed several innovative activities in Central American and Amazonian countries to improve forest governance and prevent forest crimes. In addition to facilitating policy dialogue, conflict resolution, capacity building and analytical work on governance, this technical assistance has also focused on designing low-cost tools for forest control and supervision.
These tools were primarily designed for government officers from forest control and supervision agencies in tropical countries seeking to implement timber legality verification systems. Bundling them into a single toolkit is likely to make their application easier, more efficient and more widespread throughout the timber supply chain and across a number of high-value timber species.
The Toolkit will include:
This activity is ongoing. Inputs from forest technical staff and indigenous peoples' leaders from Central and Latin America were gathered during two workshops held at CATIE in Costa Rica in March 2013. Their suggestions and contributions are feeding into the design of the forthcoming Forest Control and Supervision Toolkit. Short video interviews with some of the workshop participants are available in this album and on this page.