EU auditors critical of slow progress on timber licensing

22 Oct 15

An estimated €300m allocated by the European Union to discourage illegal logging and the export of illegal timber worldwide has produced only “meagre” results, the European Court of Auditors has found.

The European Commission introduced the EU Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) to promote fully licensed and legal timber production in timber-exporting countries around the world. It distributed around €300m to 35 partner countries worldwide between its launch in 2003 and 2013.

However, the auditors found that in the 12 years since FLEGT’s introduction, no partner country had obtained fully approved licensing of its timber.

The report, published today, said progress had been very slow with many countries struggling to overcome barriers to good governance, although some countries such as Indonesia and Ghana had made good strides.

It cited a lack of both adequate planning by the commission and of clear funding priorities towards timber-producing countries as key factors in the limited progress.

The watchdog is calling on the commission to heed a number of recommendations for improvement, including allocating its resources to timber producing countries where they will have the greatest impact.

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