FLA: Summary - Forest Legality Alliance Semi-Annual Meeting, July 6-7, 2016





The Forest Legality Alliance convened its members and partners on July 6 and 7 in the new Harmon Conference Center at World Resources Institute headquarters in Washington, D.C. 



 With the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) scheduled for the end of September, most of the meeting was focused on the growing profile of timber species in the CITES convention.  The July meeting was the last FLA gathering to be convened under WRI’s Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which ends on September 30, 2016.



Thus, a session of the meeting was devoted to reflections from FLA founders USAID, WRI and the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) on the accomplishments of FLA over the past seven years, changes in the challenges posed by illegal logging and associated trade over that period, and the priorities going forward.  The meeting attracted 92 participants hailing from 13 countries. 




In the discussion, a participant representing an industry association underscored the need to create a dialogue or a similar mechanism to the FLA in China, since the majority of imports in hardwoods, plywood and veneer now comes through China. The moderator, Dr. Alex Moad of the U.S. Forest Service, pointed out the importance of framing legal and sustainable sourcing as a moral issue, not just as a compliance issue. Chip Barber stated that the FLA had initially thought about creating something similar to the FLA in China, but that the institutional and political landscape there are more complicated, and that WRI is currently building on various ideas to leverage the interest that the Lumber Liquidators case has generated in China.


A participant from an NGO mentioned that they had conducted polling about market and purchasing preferences in the US, and found that respondents had little knowledge about timber legality, which underscores the importance of finding easy tools (such as FSC certification) for the consumer to distinguish between product types. The participant further thanked the FLA for its work and highlighted the evolution in discussion about the issue of illegal logging over the course of the partnership, from disseminating basic information about the legal requirements, to attempting to show examples of how due care can be conducted...



A summary of the meeting can be found below. 



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