Working together to strengthen legally verified timber exports from Côte d’Ivoire to the European Union, negotiations for a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) between the two parties began Monday 17 June in Abidjan. Seventeen members of Côte d’Ivoire’s newly formed National Technical Committee are participating. They come from government, civil society and the private sector.
The West African state exports about 70% of its wood products to the EU every year. Since the early 1900s the country’s forest estate has diminished, from about 15 million hectares then to about 3 million hectares today. The Ivorian government expressed interest in the FLEGT process beginning in 2010, in order to improve its forest governance and to maintain its share of the EU market in wood products.
Côte d’Ivoire’s neighbours to the east and west are Ghana and Liberia, respectively. Both neighbouring countries have concluded VPA negotiations and are implementing them. For an overview of countries negotiating or implementing a VPA with the EU, see this map.
You can find the full press release from the EU Delegation to Côte d’Ivoire of 13 June here.