Around the world, illegal logging and related timber trade pose a serious problem. Major timber purchasing countries and blocks such as the European Union (EU), the U.S. and Australia have developed import requirements to promote the trade and use of legally produced timber products.
An FAO mission with the European Forest Institute’s (EFI) EU FLEGT Facility this month aimed to build closer relationships with U.S.-based institutions to
explore how different efforts can help countries address forest governance challenges. Robert Simpson and Daphne Hewitt from the EU FAO Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Program, and Melissa Othman and Didier Devers from the EU FLEGT Facility met with experts and U.S. government officials. They aimed to understand U.S. priorities and projects, and explored ways to increase collaboration and communication in forest governance arenas worldwide.
Both FAO and EFI FLEGT Programs receive funding from the EU to support forest governance initiatives within the FLEGT Action Plan. This work, among other things, supports country-led initiatives to identify challenges and develop nationally and regionally appropriate responses to forest governance issues. FAO and EFI are collaborating with U.S. institutions to strengthen forest governance in Asia, Africa and Latin America, and are seeking opportunities for more intensive global cooperation.
FAO and EFI anticipate that the mission will spur additional long-term transatlantic collaboration. By understanding priorities and objectives of U.S. actors working on forest governance, including their efforts to tackle illegal logging and associated trade, they can reduce duplication, multiply efforts and increase the potential for real impact. Ultimately, this improves forest governance and trade promotion of legal forest products, as well as other global forest issues. Read more about FLEGT here.