Illegal logging has received international attention in recent years. For instance, the aim of the European Union Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Action Plan (FLEGT) and its Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) is to combat illegal logging and foster good governance and trade in legal wood products. Using a theoretically framework derived from literature on institutional capacity for “good forest governance,” we conducted a comparative analysis of the potential and realized capacities of VPA processes for advancing principles of good forest governance and the implementation of the Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS) in Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR), Ghana, Liberia, and the Republic of Congo (Congo) as well as the challenges that hinder the implementation of VPAs. Based on information gathered from multiple sources, we found that VPA processes do have potential capacities for advancing information transparency, multi-stakeholder participation, and TLAS. Important progress is, however, constrained by complex political and technical issues. Unlike in Ghana, Liberia, and Congo, where progress and realized capacities are more pronounced, the realized capacities of VPAs in Cameroon and the CAR are limited. While there are prospects for making progress in these latter countries, such challenges as weak and inconsistent legal frameworks, insufficient financial resources, and long-term conflicts have slowed down the implementation of VPAs. Modest investment in capacity building and enhanced political will could have a significant effect on the realized capacities.
Adams, M.A., Kayira, J., Tegegne, Y.T., Gruber, J.S. 2020. A comparative analysis of the institutional capacity of FLEGT VPA in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Ghana, Liberia, and the Republic of the Congo. Forest Policy and Economics. Forest Policy and Economics, 112, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forpol.2020.102108.