VPA annex on legality assurance system assessment criteria
To date, no timber legality assurance system has been ready to issue FLEGT licences when parties signed a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). Partner countries have had to refine existing systems, or develop new ones, during the implementation phase, which formally begins after the parties have ratified a VPA.
Therefore, before FLEGT licensing begins, the EU and partner country jointly commission an independent assessment of the timber legality assurance system to ensure that what they describe in a VPA is being delivered.
The annex on legality assurance system assessment criteria provides the questions that the parties agree an independent assessment should answer to enable the parties to decide that a system is robust and ready.
If, for instance, a VPA requires new legislation to be in place before FLEGT licensing begins, this requirement would most likely be included in the assessment criteria to ensure that it happens.
The process of negotiating the content of an annex on legality assurance system assessment criteria can be an opportunity for stakeholders to ensure certain mechanisms are in place before FLEGT licensing begins, rather than later. Stakeholders may require criteria on participation and consultation mechanisms, complaint mechanisms and structures to ensure transparency, for example.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org