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the Netherlands - 17 November, 2014
Domestic and regional timber trade in developing countries is important for economic development. It offers a lot of employment and timber for (re)construction purposes. The supply of lumber to the domestic market in developing countries is very often informal because of an inadequate legal framework and unclear tenure arrangements. During a workshop organized by Tropenbos International in cooperation with CIFOR at the Forest Governance Forum in Cameroon (Yaounde, 22-24 October 2014) it was discussed how this trade can be effectively addressed within FLEGT VPAs.
The workshop provided insights into the issues and challenges in addressing domestic and regional timber trade in relation to the VPA. Two case studies were presented on domestic and regional trade in Ghana by Emmanuel Marfo (FORIG) and in the Congo Basin by Raphael Tsanga (CIFOR). These case studies were followed by examples of responses to the challenges of the regulating the domestic market: Alphonse Maindo (TBI DR Congo) gave a presentation on law enforcement within artisanal logging in the DRC and John Amonoo (TBI Ghana) on the multi-stakeholder process and the artisanal milling concept in Ghana.
The discussion during this workshop focused on the successes, challenges and priorities within the FLEGT VPA-process with regard to addressing domestic market issues. The FLEGT VPA-process has been able to put the issue of domestic markets in the spotlights, providing an opportunity to improve the sector. FLEGT VPAs has engaged all actors in the domestic timber supply chain, including the illegal/informal stakeholders, in finding a solution. Participatory legislative reviews have been undertaken in the light of FLEGT VPAs, leading to national policies that take into account the domestic timber market.
Participants at the meeting identified the lack of clear tenure arrangements as the major bottleneck for effectively addressing domestic market issues. Inadequate legal frameworks make it difficult for small-scale loggers to obtain legal access to resources. Land and tree tenure need to be clarified and rules simplified to enable implementation by small-scale loggers. Furthermore corruption was identified as a major issue and serious attempts need to be made in addressing this along the whole timber value chain.