Seven pillars of FLEGT

This section explains the EU FLEGT Action Plan’s seven broad elements, which are listed below. It describes progress and provides case studies and reporting tips. Among the topics covered are the EU Timber Regulation and Voluntary Partnership Agreements between the EU and timber exporting countries outside the EU.



Addressing conflict timber


Bloody conflicts in Cambodia, Myanmar and the Congo basin have been fuelled by the large profits armed groups make by selling timber. When the EU FLEGT Action Plan was developed in the early 2000s, timber stolen by Charles Taylor's regime in Liberia funded rebels fighting the government in neighbouring Sierra Leone. The conflict threatened to destabilise the region and yet there was no agreed international definition of conflict timber or plan to solve the problem.

FLEGT includes actions to achieve an international definition of conflict timber and to build an understanding of forests’ role in conflicts into EU development programming. The EU supported the UN Security Council resolution that banned timber imports from Liberia between 2003 and 2006. The EU has also considered how conflict over natural resources affects its work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia and Myanmar.

More needs to be done to improve coordination among law enforcement agencies in different countries and to develop a comprehensive approach to conflict timber. One parallel is the Kimberley Process, which seeks to reduce the damage caused by conflict diamonds through a certification scheme for diamonds verified to be conflict-free.


More information

Liberia’s forests: From bloodshed and crime to the rule of law

conflict timber

Credit: EU FLEGT Facility

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