National VPA implementing structures
Partner countries set up formal and informal structures to oversee implementation of a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). Partner countries may also create new departments in government agencies to undertake implementation tasks, such as:
- Gathering data from production companies
- Performing field verification
- Reconciling data along the supply chain
- Monitoring and reporting on producer compliance with the legality definition
- Issuing FLEGT licences
- Monitoring the issuance of FLEGT licences
Each VPA partner country has created an informal committee or secretariat whose roles in implementation include:
- Guiding and assessing the work of implementing the VPA
- Publicly reporting findings
- Responding to claims of non-implementation
- Preparing national position papers and other documents for the joint implementation committee
In all VPA partner countries, these committees include representatives of government, the private sector and civil society organisations. In some partner countries, other stakeholders, such as parliamentarians and representatives of indigenous peoples, are also members of these implementation committees.
Cameroon established a National Monitoring Committee and mandated its composition by decree. The fixed membership includes representatives of the Prime Minister's office, the National Assembly, five government ministries, civil society, indigenous peoples, the private sector and people who depend on communal forests. The committee invites observers to attend its meetings.
Central African Republic. The multistakeholder National Committee for Implementation and Monitoring (Comité National de la Mise en Œuvre et Suivi – CNMOS) oversees VPA implementation. CNMOS provides the VPA joint implementation committee with insights from national stakeholders. The members of CNMOS include representatives of government ministries, the National Assembly, the private sector and civil society. The committee is also the national mechanism for stakeholder consultation. CNMOS informs and exchanges information with a broad group of stakeholders. The Central African Republic also created a Permanent Technical Secretariat (STP – Secrétariat technique permanent) to organise and facilitate VPA implementation activities and stakeholder participation. STP has four permanent staff and is embedded in the Ministry of Forests, Water, Fishing and Hunting.
Ghana. The VPA Secretariat in Ghana's Forestry Commission coordinates implementation of the VPA. In addition, Ghana has formally established a Multistakeholder Implementation Committee. This group serves as the Ghana delegation in meetings of the joint implementation committee. Members include representatives of several government ministries and agencies that have responsibilities for aspects of the VPA, and the VPA Secretariat. Other members of the committee include a parliamentarian, a traditional authority and representatives of civil society and the private sector. The sector minister leads Ghana's delegation to the joint implementation committee.
Indonesia. The joint implementation committee is supported by a secretariat, led by both parties, and located in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. At the time of writing, Indonesia had established two multistakeholder working groups under the joint implementation committee:
- A technical working group, which deals with impact monitoring
- A joint working group, which oversees implementation of the Indonesia-EU Action Plan on Advancement of VPA Implementation
EU-Indonesian exchanges take place every second month in joint working group and joint expert meeting formats, always inviting relevant stakeholder groups. Civil society has its own platform focusing on the timber legality assurance system, and has identified representatives for EU-Indonesian meetings. Private sector verification companies meet in a timber legality assurance system certification forum.
Liberia. After VPA negotiations ended, the national negotiating team evolved into the Liberia Implementation Committee. This committee meets mainly to prepare for joint implementation committee meetings. Members represent government ministries and agencies, private sector and civil society organisations. A broader National Multistakeholder Monitoring Committee also provides input to the joint implementation committee. The 26 members include members of the Liberia Implementation Committee and representatives of government agencies, civil society, the private sector and communities.
Republic of the Congo. A national, multistakeholder Technical Secretariat monitors, guides and supports implementation of the VPA in the Republic of the Congo. Members represent the government, private sector and civil society. Among other things, the Technical Secretariat prepares documents for meetings of the VPA joint implementation committee.
Related sections of VPA Unpacked
Joint implementation committees
VPA annex on the joint implementation committee
Faure, N. and Lesniewska, F. 2012. Implementing VPAs: Outlining Approaches for Civil Society's Participation in VPA-related Law Reforms. Ghana Regional Workshop: Experiences from the FLEGT/VPA process in West and Central African countries. ClientEarth. [Download PDF]
Bollen, A. and Ozinga, S. 2013. Improving Forest Governance. A Comparison of FLEGT VPAs and Their Impact. FERN. 50pp. [Download PDF]
Duffield, L. and Ozinga, S. 2014. Making Forestry Fairer. A Practical Guide for Civil Society Organisations Taking Part in VPA Negotiations. FERN. 68pp. [Download PDF]