Update on international efforts to align timber procurement policies
The Copenhagen workshop on 7-8 April, which was well attended, provided more than 20 presentations by stakeholders from the trade, research institutions, EU member states and the European Commission etc. This provided an overview of the various timber procurement policies across Europe and wider international community. (link to presentations etc can be found here).
CPET’s Sofie Tind Nielsen presented an overview and comparison of existing public procurement policies for timber and concluded that only 12 countries worldwide have public procurement policies in place. An update on the work being done in the EU was given at the workshop through various presentations. In 2003 the European Union launched the FLEGT Action Plan (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade). The aim of this action plan is to combat illegal logging and related trade by linking good governance in developing countries with the legal trade instruments and influence offered by the EU’s internal market.
One element of FLEGT is to look at additional options for legislation. According to several sources, a proposal for additional legislation to prevent the marketing of illegally harvested timber and timber products in the EU is expected to be discussed in the European Commission’s Inter Service Consultation group in mid May. If deadlines are met, this will lead to an EC Communication outlining the options for further legislation, possibly accompanied by a legislative proposal in June. According to the International Heralds Tribune the EU environment commissioner, Stavros Dimas, plans to propose a regulation at the end of May that would require importers, and many retailers of wood products, to show how the wood was obtained and where it is being sent next in the supply and production chain. The regulation would put the onus on EU governments to stop importers and retailers buying or selling wood from illegal sources.
The FLEGT action plan also focuses on public timber procurement policies. EC Communications relating to illegal logging and timber procurement are due to be released in May 2008 and will cover Green Public Procurement (GPP). The EU has developed a draft communication on green public procurement policies, which will be further discussed in June. Six EU countries currently have procurement policies on timber and an additional four EU countries are in the process of developing such policies. In Copenhagen the UK agreed with Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium to share their experiences of developing a timber procurement policy with the other EU countries. The key idea is to present all criteria in one common framework, so that it is clear and transparent and highlights the similarities and differences between the four countries. This will help to give Member States and the European Commission an understanding of the key components of a public procurement policy for timber. CPET is tasked with the job to produce the technical background document as a summarising report containing all the detailed criteria. The plan is then to present the report findings at an EC communication on green procurement workshop in June.