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VPA annex on independent auditing

Independent audits are a compulsory feature of all Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) timber legality assurance systems. Independent audits underpin the credibility of the timber legality assurance system of a VPA partner-country and the VPA as a whole.

Audits provide independent evidence that a timber legality assurance system is working. The auditor's role is not to find evidence of illegality, but to assess whether a timber legality assurance system is functioning properly. The evidence provided by audits reassures governments of partner countries that timber legality assurance systems are effective forest management tools.

The purpose of the VPA annex on independent auditing is to outline the scope and principles of independent audits, and to frame these in the terms of reference for auditors, which specify:

  • Required qualifications
  • Independence from interests linked to the forest sector
  • Relations with stakeholders
  • Tasks, methodology and sources of information
  • Reporting principles, procedure and schedule

Each annex on independent auditing also describes how a partner country will, in consultation with the EU, recruit and support an auditor, and how parties to the VPA will respond to an auditor's reports.

Independent auditing is part of a country's timber legality assurance system and must be in place before FLEGT licensing can begin. However, the frequency of audits, name of the auditing role and nature of reports vary between countries, as Table 3 shows.

Table 3. Variations in VPA annexes on independent auditing

Country

 

Cameroon

  • Name: Independent system audit
  • Frequency: Six months after establishment of legality assurance system. One audit in later years
  • Reports: Complete report and summary public report

Central African Republic

  • Name: Independent system audit
  • Frequency: Three audits in the first year. Two audits in the second and third years. One audit in later years
  • Reports: Complete report and summary public report

Ghana

  • Name: Independent monitoring
  • Frequency: Approximately every six months in the first year. One audit in following years
  • Reports: Complete report and summary public report

Indonesia

  • Name: Periodic evaluation
  • Frequency: Audits no more than 12 months apart
  • Reports: Complete report and public report

Liberia

  • Name: Independent audit
  • Frequency: Two audits in the first year. One audit in later years
  • Reports: To be prepared as agreed with the joint implementation committee and validated by that committee before being made public

Republic of the Congo

  • Name: System independent audit
  • Frequency: At least three audits in the first two years. Fewer in later years, but there must be spot checks
  • Reports: Single report, which the joint implementation committee will review and then publish

More information

Related sections of VPA Unpacked

VPA text and annexes

Independent audit

 

Disclaimer. The content of VPA Unpacked is based on lessons and experiences captured and described by the EU FLEGT Facility and therefore is the sole responsibility of the Facility. For comments or questions, please contact the EU FLEGT Facility at: info@euflegt.efi.int