Meeting the challenge of timber legality verification

Briefing papers
January 2009
VERIFOR and FAO

This policy brief is an output of the International Workshop on Legality of Traded Timber: The Development Challenges, which was convened jointly by the VERIFOR project and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) at FAO headquarters, Rome, Italy, on 24–26 November 2008. It draws on the collective knowledge of 100 forest governance practitioners and researchers to describe the process of effective timber legality verification and identify the challenges it faces. It also presents eight key messages for policymakers:

  1. Forest illegality can be discouraged by increasing the benefits that stakeholders are able to obtain through legal means
  2. Forest law enforcement should ensure the optimal payment of forest rent
  3. Legality standards should recognise differences in the scale of timber production
  4. The state must guarantee the independence of timber legality monitoring
  5. New technologies are helping to improve forest law enforcement, transparency and governance. Political, legislative and institutional support is essential for their effective deployment
  6. There is significant potential for convergence between timber legality verification and the likely demands of REDD in post-2012 arrangements on climate change
  7. Multi-stakeholder dialogues are an essential component of effective forest governance reform
  8. Timber legality verification can play a useful role in wider forest governance reform.

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