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Accurate and timely information on timber trade flows is crucial to understanding market developments, including the impact and effectiveness of FLEGT policy measures. The ability to access trade data in near real-time has taken on even greater significance during the period of unprecedented global disruption caused by COVID-19. At a webinar on 20 October, the FLEGT Independent Market Monitor (IMM) will introduce two new, innovative and freely accessible online sources of trade data - the IMM's own Data Dashboard and the Sustainable Timber Information Exchange (STIX). 

A brand refresh is among the tasks of a new communications drive for Indonesia’s SVLK timber legality assurance system. The initiative, backed by the UK-funded Multi-stakeholder Forestry Programme (MFP4), aims to raise awareness of the value of SVLK certification at home and abroad. 

The promulgation of the Republic of the Congo’s (ROC) new Forest Code (Law 33-2020 July 8, 2020) marks a milestone for legal reform  that started  eight years ago.

The need for reform was partly prompted by negotiations for then entry into force of the country’s FLEGT VPA with the European Union (EU), requiring that all timber products, both exported and sold domestically, be produced legally.

The FSC has approved the Indonesian National Forest Stewardship Standard (NFSS) as compliant with its principles and criteria and says it took Indonesia’s SVLK timber legality assurance system (TLAS), FLEGT licensing status and PHPL sustainable forest management system into account in the process.

Implementation of a new Swiss timber regulation, equivalent to the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) has been further delayed, and now looks unlikely to happen before 2022. Often referred to as the ‘Swiss EUTR’, the regulation has been in discussion for several years. Besides reinforcing Swiss efforts  to combat illegal timber imports,

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the value of new supply chain sustainability auditing technologies and could trigger their accelerated uptake for commodities including timber. That’s the conclusion of journal articles from academics Cory Searcy of Ryerson University in Canada and Pavel Castka of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. They say the pandemic has prompted a global rethink of supply chain business models. That includes in respect of sustainability certification and verification auditing. And the latter, they told IMM, potentially includes auditing under FLEGT VPA countries’ timber legality assurance systems. 

Thai civil society groups have taken part in a data literacy training programme to strengthen their capacity to advocate for forest governance improvement, including through Thailand’s FLEGT VPA process. 

Vietnamese wood-based panel and joinery exporters are among  the beneficiaries of the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).  

Forests certified under Indonesia’s PHPL scheme are rated better on curbing deforestation than non-certified and legality verified areas, however its sustainability credentials are adversely impacted by competing land use rights. This is among key conclusions of a report by the Indonesian Forest Monitoring Network, JPIK. 

A £64 million support package from the UK for Colombia is aimed at improving forest governance and increasing uptake of sustainable forest management and agriculture. The grant finance has been awarded under the UK’s International Climate Finance programme (ICF). It comes a year after the UK and Colombia concluded a ‘Partnership for Sustainable Growth’, which focuses on ‘supporting the fight against deforestation and environmental crime and creation of sustainable economic livelihoods’.

The UK Timber Trade Federation (TTF) has launched a competition for designers, architects and craftspeople to create furniture, sculptures, interior design and other functional products using exclusively tropical timber from FLEGT VPA partner countries. The design contest, being run in association with the London Building Centre, is called Conversations about climate change and forms part of the TTF’s pan-European FLEGT communication drive. This aims to raise the market profile of the initiative and awareness of its wider impacts on the ground in supplier countries and is funded by the UK Department for International Development under its Forest Governance, Markets and Climate programme. 

The IMM market update for May 2020 analyses the latest data on EU27+UK imports of tropical wood (HS44) and wood furniture (HS94) from VPA Partner countries and competing non-VPA timber supplying countries.