EU FLEGT Facility (closed)

From 2007 to 2021, the EU FLEGT Facility supported the implementation of the European Union (EU) Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan with a focus on Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs). The EU FLEGT Action Plan sets out a programme of actions that forms the EU’s response to the problem of illegal logging and trade in associated timber products.

The EU FLEGT Facility supported the European Commission, EU Delegations, EU Member States, partner country Governments and other stakeholder groups in timber-exporting countries that were considering, negotiating or implementing a VPA.

The Facility strengthened regional action and cooperation in support of the Action Plan, good forest governance, and international trade in verified legal timber in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The Facility also supported the EU–China Bilateral Coordination Mechanism on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance.

To support the EU’s response to illegal logging and trade in associated timber products the Facility:

  • Informed timber-exporting countries about the Action Plan and VPAs.
  • Supported national dialogue in timber-exporting countries on whether to pursue a VPA.
  • Advised partner countries on multistakeholder processes and timber legality assurance systems.
  • Assisted in strengthening a partner country’s capacity to meet the requirements set out in the VPA.
  • Built and disseminated knowledge and information, drawing from lessons learnt and experience gained in VPA processes.
  • Commissioned studies on market developments, trade flows, timber legality assurance system testing, legal issues and reforms, as well as other matters.
  • Collaborated with regional programmes to complement and support actions already taking place.

Through the Facility’s experience in support to FLEGT processes, we learnt that:

Partnerships centre the dialogue

  • Discussing as partners, establishing mutual interest to improve forest sector and working towards shared goals, allows a more intimate understanding of deep-rooted governance issues.
  • Separating discussions on governance reforms and financial assistance means that partners can focus on political dialogue rather than negotiations between donors and beneficiaries.

Multi-stakeholder involvement is key to foster change

  • National multi-stakeholder dialogue is critical to foster understanding and build consensus around the reforms needed to clarify and improve regulatory frameworks and ensure their effective implementation.
  • When political will is stronger and more government agencies are involved, it is more likely that a national vision can frame the different interests and that more change will be possible.
  • Involving the private sector changes the dynamic of the debate about forests and governance. It broadens the base of constituents with an interest in change and with the capacity to effect change.

Reinforcing national sovereignty helps build ownership and gives a sense of fairness

  • A focus on national legal framework, systems and a national process reinforces national sovereignty. As a focus on legality means that all operators must comply, it makes the business environment fairer.
  • Integrating the informal timber sector and the domestic timber market into the ‘formal’ national regulatory frameworks is needed to help overturn illegal practices and unlock sustainable development gains.

Building capacity is often a must

  • Capacity building is needed to accompany the transformation required of public institutions and the private sector to adapt to new ways of doing business under a VPA.
  • Action is needed both on the demand and the supply sides, which in turn demonstrates the need for change on both sides. Linking demand-side and supply-side measures is essential for dealing with governance of natural resources traded on international markets. Demand-side interventions encourage legal and sustainable trade, reduce incentives for deforestation, and trigger national forest and land-use governance reforms.

Time is needed for learning and change of mind-sets both within partner countries and amongst development partners

  • Major governance reforms take time and require significant investments at both the political and technical levels.
  • Real participation represents a long-term investment.

The EU FLEGT Facility was funded by the EU and the Governments of Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

From 2021, the support EFI provides to the implementation of the EU FLEGT Action Plan continues through two programmes, the EU FLEGT Asia Programme for work related to Asia, and the VPA Africa – Latin America Facility for work related to Africa and Latin America.


The resources linked to individual VPA country processes have been redirected:

The following list contains resources which are of broader scope and/or did not fit in the structure and typology of content provided in the websites mentioned above.