VPA annex on legality assurance system assessment criteria
VPA partner countries cannot begin issuing FLEGT licences until the EU and the partner country’s government are satisfied that the timber legality assurance system functions as intended.
The EU and partner country therefore jointly commission an independent assessment of the timber legality assurance system to ensure that what they describe in a VPA is being delivered (see the section of VPA Unpacked on VPA implementation for more details of the joint assessment).
The VPA 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.
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.