Forest Law Enforcement, Governance & Trade (FLEGT) Project | WWF

Forest Law Enforcement, Governance & Trade (FLEGT) Project

FLEGT is the European Union’s programme to reduce illegal logging by strengthening sustainable and legal forest management, improving governance, and promoting trade in legally produced timber.


FLEGT works through Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs), which are legally binding trade agreements between the European Union (EU) and a timber-producing country outside the EU.


The purpose of a VPA is to ensure that timber and timber products exported to the EU come from legal sources. The agreements also help timber-exporting countries stop illegal logging by improving regulation and governance of the forest sector.


In Laos, WWF is working with the Department of Forest Inspection (DoFI) to implement the project in two southern provinces. Although there are policies and regulations to support law enforcement and curb illegal logging in Laos, the FLEGT VPA is a new initiative.


By entering into a VPA with the EU, Laos is looking to build its timber industry by diversifying timber products and increasing revenue through placement on the EU market.


The project is currently in the negotiation stage, but once complete, Laos can begin to put systems in place to control, verify and license legal timber.

© Somphavanh Seukpanya / WWF-Laos
© Somphavanh Seukpanya / WWF-Laos
© WWF-Laos
© WWF-Laos

What Does a VPA Contain?

A legality assurance system (LAS) is the central component of a VPA. It identifies, monitors and licenses legally produced timber and is unique to each country during VPA negotiations.


A timber LAS usually contains:

    •    A definition of what constitutes legal timber

    •    A procedure for verifying control of the supply chain

    •    Tools for verification and capacity to use them

    •    Licensing by a national authority

    •    Independent audit

© WWF-Laos
Lao timber stocked in southern Laos
© WWF-Laos

FLEGT Major Activities

    •    Build capacity and awareness for target groups at local, provincial and national levels to participate in the VPA process.

    •    Support the processes of Timber Legality definition (TLD) and Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS). 

    •    Support SMEs to develop Chain of Custody (CoC) systems and organise capacity building activities for those participating SMEs.

    •    Strengthen cross-border timber tracking systems for target SMEs.

    •    Share lessons learned at national, regional & international levels to inform VPA process.

    •    Support community-based forest committees in target villages and improve law awareness while fostering public participation.

Two of the Prime Minister's Orders  NO. 15/PM 

1.    Assign the ministries, relevant sectors and local authorities in all levels to strengthen the emphasis and responsibilities in implementing their duties, authorities and responsibilities in accordance with laws and regulations, particularly laws and regulations related to forest governance, timber harvest, timber transport and business.

2.    Suspend the export of logs, big size sawed timbers, sawn timbers, spited wood, roots, stumps, knots, branches and standing trees or decorative trees that are harvested from natural forest in any cases, including the timbers approved by Government that have not yet been implemented; logs must be processed to create value-added based on the standard set by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (according to the Decision No. 2005/MOIC.DoIH, dated 28/9/2015) prior to granting approvals for export.

© WWF-Laos
Provincial authorities have pledged to improve wood processing plants after finding more than 100 plants failed to meet the required standards
© WWF-Laos

Prime Ministerial Order No-15 to address illegal logging

Lao PDR and Vietnam to Cooperate on Combating Illegal Timber and Wildlife Trade Across Borders

A bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office (PAFO), Attapeu Province, Lao PDR, and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), Kon Tum Province Vietnam, was signed earlier this month (19 Oct. 2016) by Mr. Sounthone Leuammalaysy, Deputy Director of Attapeu PAFO, and Mr. Nguyen Kim Phuong, Deputy Director of Kon Tum DARD, Kon Tum Province Vietnam.


The main objective of the agreement is to enhance and streamline cooperation in forest management and protection starting in 2017, in order to prevent unauthorized harvesting, poaching, trading and transporting of timber, forest products and wildlife in the border provinces of Kon Tum in Vietnam and Attapeu in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

© Khamphone
MoU on cooperation in controlling the violation of harvesting and trading forest products and wildlife in 2017 at Laos and Vietnam border
© Khamphone
© Khamphone
MoU on cooperation in controlling the violation of harvesting and trading forest products and wildlife in 2017 at Laos and Vietnam border
© Khamphone