Glossary


C

CEEAC: See Economic Community of Central African States

Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC): An intergovernmental organisation in Central Africa that aims to manage the region’s forests sustainably. COMIFAC has 10 member states: Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and São Tomé and Príncipe. COMIFAC was established in March 1999 in the Declaration of Yaoundé. See the COMIFAC website.

CITES permit: Document confirming that the product traded follows the requirements stipulated under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Timber accompanied by a CITES permit will be accepted as legal under the EU Timber Regulation. The EUTR due diligence procedures therefore do not need to be applied to timber with a CITES permit. CITES permitted species will not receive a FLEGT licence as they will receive their own CITES certificate. See also: Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

CITES: See Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

Competent authority: Under the EU FLEGT Regulation, the authority or authorities designated by each EU member state to verify FLEGT licences. Under the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), the authority designated by each EU member state to monitor compliance by operators and to verify that monitoring organisations are fulfilling their obligations. In some EU member states, the EUTR competent authorities are customs or other authorities responsible for border control. Other EU member states assign this function to other government services. In some EU member states, EUTR and FLEGT competent authorities are the same institutions (and even people). See the FLEGT regulation list of competent authorities [PDF] and the EU Timber Regulation list of competent authorities [PDF].

Conflict timber: Timber traded by armed groups, the proceeds of which are used to fund armed conflicts. The UN Security Council coined the term 'conflict timber' in 2004 in Resolution 1521.

Conformity assessment body (CAB): Conformity assessment means checking that products, materials, services, systems or people measure up to the specifications of a relevant standard. In VPAs, a conformity assessment body may be responsible for verification of compliance with the timber legality assurance system. A conformity assessment body demonstrates competence by adhering to relevant standards, in particular relevant ISO/IEC normative documents, preferably by seeking accreditation against those standards.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES): Intergovernmental agreement to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of endangered species. See also: CITES permit.

Corrective action: In VPAs, an action to be taken by an actor in the timber legality assurance system to correct individual non-compliance(s) or system failures identified by the verification agencies or the independent audit.

D

DG DEVCO: See Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development

DG ENV: See Directorate-General for the Environment

Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO): The European Commission’s Directorate-General responsible for designing European international cooperation and development policy and delivering aid throughout the world. DG DEVCO is, together with DG ENV, one of the Commission DGs leading the implementation of the EU FLEGT Action Plan. Among others, DG DEVCO leads VPA negotiations with African countries and with some Latin American countries, and delivers bilateral development assistance to support the implementation of FLEGT goals. See DG DEVCO website.

Directorate-General for the Environment (DG ENV): The Directorate-General for Environment is the European Commission department responsible for EU policy on the environment. It aims to protect, preserve and improve the environment for present and future generations, proposing and implementing policies that ensure a high level of environmental protection and preserve the quality of life of EU citizens. It also makes sure that Member States apply EU environmental law correctly and represents the European Union in environmental matters at international meetings. DG ENV is, together with DG DEVCO, one of the Commission DGs leading the implementation of the EU FLEGT Action Plan. See DG ENV website.

Due care: Under US law, due care requires a person to undertake certain steps to ensure that he or she is not violating the law. Due care is applied differently to different categories of persons with varying degrees of knowledge and responsibility. See also due diligence system.

Due diligence system: A system operators use to minimise the risk of placing illegal timber or timber products on the EU market. The three key elements of a due diligence system are: 1) Information: the operator must have access to information describing the timber and timber products, country of harvest, species, quantity, details of the supplier and information on compliance with national legislation. 2) Risk assessment: the operator should assess the risk of illegal timber in his or her supply chain, based on the information identified above and taking into account criteria set out in the EU Timber Regulation. 3) Risk mitigation: when the assessment shows there is a risk of illegal timber in the supply chain that risk can be mitigated by requiring additional information and verification from the supplier.

Due diligence: See: due diligence system.

E

ECCAS: See Economic Community of Central African States

Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS, CEEAC): ECCAS is an economic community of the African Union for promotion of regional economic cooperation in Central Africa. It aims to achieve collective autonomy, raise the standard of living of its populations and maintain economic stability through harmonious cooperation. There are 10 member states: Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and São Tomé and Príncipe. See the Economic Community of Central African States website.

EU delegation: Formerly European Commission representations, EU delegations fall today under the European External Action Service as EU Embassies and are European Union's diplomatic representations around the world. Most EU delegations are responsible for EU relations with a single country, some oversee relations with a group of countries or a region and some are dedicated to organisations such as the African Union, ASEAN or the United Nations. See also European External Action Service (EEAS) and the EEAS website.

EU FAO FLEGT Programme: A five-year initiative between 2012 and 2016 which provides support to timber producing countries to implement projects that target aspects of the EU FLEGT Action Plan. The EU FAO FLEGT Programme is funded by the European Union and implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The Programme is a successor programme to the ACP-FLEGT Support Programme (2008-2012). See EU FAO FLEGT Programme website.

EU FLEGT Action Plan: The EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan is the European Union’s response to the problem of illegal logging and associated trade in timber and timber products. Agreed by EU member states in 2003, the EU FLEGT Action plan recognises the role of the EU as export market for countries where levels of illegality and poor governance in the forest sector are most serious. The Plan includes actions to engage the EU in joint work with timber exporting countries with the view to improve forest governance and reduce the trade in illegal timber and timber products.

EU FLEGT Facility: A multi-donor trust fund established by the EU to support the development of VPAs and other elements of the EU FLEGT Action Plan. The Facility was established in 2007 and is hosted by the European Forest Institute. See the EU FLEGT Facility website.

EU REDD Facility: A multi-donor trust fund established by the EU to support EU efforts to address the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, and foster sustainable forest management in developing countries. The Facility was established in 2010 and is hosted by the European Forest Institute. See the EU REDD Facility website.

EU Timber Regulation (EUTR): Regulation (EU) No 995/2010, which lays down the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market to counter the trade in illegally harvested timber and timber products. The European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) is one part of the EU’s FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) Action Plan which aims to reduce illegal logging worldwide. The EUTR makes it an offence to place for the first time illegally harvested timber and timber products onto the EU market. Furthermore, operators who place timber or timber products on the market for the first time must have due diligence system to mitigate the risk that this timber has been illegally harvested. The EU Timber Regulation entered into force on 3rd March 2013 and it is directly applicable in all EU member states. See the European Commission’s EUTR website.

European Commission (EC): The EU's executive body, which represents the interests of Europe as a whole (as opposed to the interests of individual countries). The term 'Commission' refers to both the college of commissioners and the institution itself – which has its headquarters in Brussels, Belgium with offices in Luxembourg. The Commission also has offices known as 'representations' in all EU member countries. See European Commission website.

European External Action Service (EEAS / EU delegation): The European Union's diplomatic service. It helps the EU's foreign affairs chief – the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy – carry out the Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy. EEAS delegations (known as EU delegations) operate around the world. See EEAS website.

European Forest Institute (EFI): An international organisation established by European states which conducts research and provides policy support on issues related to forests. EFI hosts the EU FLEGT and REDD facilities. See EFI website.

European Union (EU): The political and economic union of 28 European countries. The EU operates through a system of supranational independent institutions and intergovernmental negotiated decisions by its member states. See EU website.

F

FAO ACP FLEGT Programme: The Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Support Programme for African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries was a four-year initiative between 2008 and 2012 to address forest law enforcement, governance and trade issues in ACP member countries. The ACP FLEGT Programme was funded by the European Commission and implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The Programme had two main components: providing assistance to ACP country stakeholder groups in putting the European Union (EU) Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan into practice; and supporting the collection, analysis and dissemination of FLEGT-related information and lessons learned among the stakeholder groups. In 2012 the ACP-FLEGT Support Programme was followed by the larger EU FAO FLEGT Programme (2012-2016). See also EU FAO FLEGT Programme.

FLEGT Committee: A committee that coordinates European Union policies under the EU FLEGT Action Plan. The European Commission chairs the committee. FLEGT Committee members represent each of the EU member states.

FLEGT licence: An export licence issued by a VPA partner country for timber or timber products destined for the EU market. The licence certifies that the timber or timber products exported under that licence are legal. Timber or timber products accompanied by a FLEGT licence will be accepted as legal under the EU Timber Regulation. Importers therefore do not need to apply EUTR due diligence procedures to FLEGT licensed timber or timber products. See also FLEGT-licensed timber.

FLEGT licensing scheme: The issuing of licences for timber and timber products destined for export to the European Union from a VPA partner country, and its implementation in the European Union following provisions on border controls.

FLEGT Regulation: EC Regulation No 2173/2005 on the establishment of a FLEGT licensing scheme for imports of timber into the European Union. The EU FLEGT Regulation makes it illegal to import timber and timber products into the EU from countries with whom the EU has concluded a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) unless the exporting country has issued that timber with a FLEGT licence to confirm its legality. The EU FLEGT Regulation only relates to timber imported from producer countries which have ratified VPA agreements with the EU, and only once the timber legality assurance system agreed in the VPA is operational. EU member states have passed domestic legislation to implement this regulation. See the full text of the FLEGT Regulation.

FLEGT: Acronym of forest law enforcement, governance and trade. The term may refer to a) the EU initiative to tackle illegal logging: the EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade Action Plan; see also EU FLEGT Action Plan, b) activities to implement the EU FLEGT Action Plan or c) other activities that relate to forest law enforcement, governance and trade but take place outside the scope of the EU FLEGT Action Plan.

Forest law enforcement, governance and trade (FLEGT): see FLEGT.

Forest Stewardship Council: See FSC.

FSC: The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international not for-profit, multi-stakeholder organization established in 1993 to promote responsible management of the world’s forests. Its main tools for achieving this are standard setting, certification and labelling of forest products. 

G

Green public procurement: See Public procurement.

H

Harmonised System Nomenclature (HS Nomenclature): An internationally standardised system of names and numbers that classifies traded products. The HS nomenclature was developed under the auspices of the World Customs Organization. The EU and its member states are contracting parties to the Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System. The HS Nomenclature comprises 5000 commodity groups. The Combined Nomenclature of the EU integrates the HS Nomenclature and comprises additional eight-digit subdivisions and legal notes to address the needs of the Community. See also HS codes.

J

Joint implementation committee (JIC): In VPAs, an EU and partner country joint committee whose main purpose is to oversee the implementation of the Agreement. The committee has both technical and political meetings. Committee members represent the EU or the VPA partner country. A VPA, in its main text or an annex, describes how the joint implementation committee operates. Some VPA partner countries have different names for the joint implementation committee. In Ghana, for instance, the body is called the Joint Monitoring and Review Mechanism. In Cameroon, the committee is composed of two bodies: the Joint Monitoring Committee and the Joint Implementation Council.

L

Legality definition: Each VPA defines ‘legal timber' based on laws and regulations of the partner country. The national legality definition sets out the legal and regulatory requirements that must be met before a FLEGT licence can be issued. The laws cover the economic, environmental and social aspects of forest management and timber processing. The definition also provides criteria and indicators to be used for checking compliance with those laws. The legality definition is one of the core elements of a VPA timber legality assurance system. See FLEGT briefing note 2. See also legally produced timber.

Legally produced timber: Timber or timber products that have been harvested, processed and traded in accordance to the laws of the countries where the activities take place.

Licensing authority: The authority or authorities designated by a VPA partner country to issue and validate FLEGT licences.

Log landing: A landing is an open area used for processing and stacking logs before they are loaded onto a log truck. It is the ‘front room’ of most timber harvests where machinery is stored and many field decisions are made.

M

Market participant: An actor, private or public, involved in forestry or transformation or trade of timber products

Multistakeholder process: A convening of civil society, the private sector, the public sector and other stakeholders to promote better decision making by ensuring that the views of the main actors concerned about a particular decision are heard and integrated at all stages, through dialogue and consensus building. The approach aims to create trust between the actors and solutions that provide mutual benefits (win-win). The approach is people-centred and everyone involved takes responsibility for the outcome. Because of the inclusive and participatory approaches used, stakeholders have a greater sense of ownership for decisions made. They are thus more likely to comply with them. See also stakeholder.

O

Operator: Under the EU Timber Regulation, any natural or legal person that places timber or timber products on the EU market. 

P

PEFC: The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC) is a non-profit international organization promoting sustainable forest management, and an international umbrella organization providing independent assessment, endorsement and recognition of national forest certification systems.

Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes: See PEFC.

Public procurement policy: See public procurement

Public procurement: The buying of goods and services by government organisations. ‘Green’ public procurement is a process whereby public authorities seek to procure goods, services and works with a reduced environmental impact throughout their life cycle when compared to goods, services and works with the same primary function that would otherwise be procured. Public procurement is one of the measures in the EU FLEGT Action Plan. The Plan proposes to guide contracting authorities in the EU member states on how to deal with legality when specifying timber in procurement procedures.

R

REDD+: A mechanism created by the United Nations with the view of making forests more valuable standing than felled. Under the REDD+ mechanism, the carbon storage services of forests are quantified and assessed, and funds are given to provide incentives to conserve or enhance forests stocks.

Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation: See REDD+.

S

Shipment: In trade, a shipment or consignment is a cargo transported under the terms of a single bill of lading or air waybill, irrespective of the quantity or number of containers, packages, or pieces. In VPAs, a shipment is a quantity of timber or timber products from a VPA partner country which is covered by a FLEGT licence. A shipment is sent from a VPA partner country by a consignor or a shipper, and is presented at a customs office of an EU member state for release for free circulation in the EU market. In the context of VPAs and FLEGT licensing in particular, shipment and consignment are synonyms. See also consignment and shipment-based licensing.

Shipment-based licensing: In VPAs, shipment based licensing is a licensing system where a licence demonstrating legal compliance is issued by the licensing authority of the VPA partner country for each shipment exported to the EU. See also shipment.

Stakeholder: The stakeholders in a process or an activity are the people, companies and institutions that can affect or can be affected by that process or activity. Forests have many economic, environmental and cultural values at local, national and international scales, so any forest policy will have many stakeholder groups. In the case of VPAs, stakeholders in the timber-exporting country and the EU include governments, private sector actors, civil society organisations, communities and/or indigenous people. See also multistakeholder process.

Supply chain: A timber supply chain is a system of organisations, people, technology, activities, information and resources that move and transform timber and timber products from the point of harvest or import to its final sale.

Sustainable forest management (SFM): A dynamic and evolving concept that aims to maintain and enhance the economic, social and environmental value of all types of forests, for the benefit of present and future generations.

T

Timber legality assurance system (TLAS): The main element of a VPA. A timber legality assurance system enables a VPA partner country to define what is legal timber, verify whether timber products have been harvested, transported and traded legally, track timber and timber products from their origin to their point of exports, issue FLEGT licences for legally verified products to be exported to the EU and subject the entire system to independent auditing.

Trader: Under the EU Timber Regulation, any natural or legal person who in the course of a commercial activity, sells or buys on the internal market timber or timber products already placed on the internal market. 

V

Verification of legality: The means assessing that timber and timber products comply with the law. In VPAs, verification assures that the requirements of the legality definition and the supply chain controls, as defined in the timber legality assurance system, are met. See FLEGT briefing note 5.

Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA): A legally binding bilateral trade agreement between the EU and a timber-exporting country outside the EU. Each VPA aims to ensure that timber and timber products imported into the EU from a partner country comply with the laws of that country.

VPA partner country: Any timber exporting country that enters into negotiations to conclude a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union.

 

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