Image caption: FLEGT involves a network of organisations, institutions, documents, digital processes, forests and timber. It is also about people working with a natural resource to create a sustainable future.
Governance of sustainable tropical timber begins not just in the forest but in meeting rooms around the world: with forest sector stakeholder represent-atives from civil society groups, governments and private sector deliberating on principles of forest management and forest governance, sustainable production, local laws and rights and the protection of habits and biodiversity. The EU’s FLEGT Action Plan – Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) opposes illegal logging by establishing regulatory mechanisms that aim to ensure the trade of legally produced timber and timber products.
Like growing a tree, deep change takes time. It took 15 years from the 2001 ministerial conference in Bali to the issuance of the first FLEGT license from Indonesia on 15 November 2016. The FLEGT license represents an important step in the journey from sapling to product, guaranteeing the sustainable use of forests that benefits all those connected to it. Indonesia is a pioneer, the first to issue FLEGT licences and currently the only country to issue licences, with more countries to follow.
Producing timber legally has a ripple effect way beyond the wood and products you see here in the exhibition. FLEGT has been designed to incorporate sustainable forest management, improve forest governance, strengthen land tenure and access rights for local communities. It gives a voice to all those connected to the forest when developing strategies and policy. Transforming the infrastructure around which timber is harvested and produced not only benefits the forest but also benefits the communities and individuals for whom illegal logging casts a long shadow.