Honduras and the EU Sign Historic Agreement on Trade and Forest Legality
ICCOâs partner organizations in Honduras are among the multi sector actors that participated in the negotiations.
After six years of negotiations, Honduras and the European Union (EU) signed the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance Trade Voluntary Partnership Agreement (FLEGT-VPA), which certifies the application of forest laws and the trade of timber products with the European continent. Honduras is the first Latin American country to sign this agreement, which aims to strengthen the governance of the forestry sector, combat illegal logging, and guarantee certification and legal timber trade.
The agreement, endorsed by public, private, and civil actors, in alliance with international cooperation organizations, was signed by the President of Honduras Juan Orlando HernÃ¡ndez; the General Director of International Cooperation and Development of the EU, Stefano Manservisi; the Director of Honduras’s Forest Conservation Institute, Arnaldo Bueso, and honorary witnesses such as Donaldo Allen, representing Indigenous Peoples.
“This Voluntary Association Agreement (VPA) is an extraordinary example, achieved only through a legitimate process of forest governance that shows commitment and political will to combat illegality in consensus with all the key players in the forestry sector, among them, community-based organizations and Indigenous Peoples who own forests. Deforestation and forest degradation is caused, among other factors, by forest illegality. With this action, Honduras sets an example to Latin American countries that suffer the scourge of losing forest cover“, explains Marvin Centeno, ICCO’s Coordinator of the Forest Governance Project.
As stated by Stefano Manservisi, this agreement seeks to increase transparency, promote the fight against climate change and prevent illegal logging in Honduras. He also assured that it contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals, promoting decent employment for all, the growth of businesses and the peaceful coexistence of communities.
The agreement was sent to the National Congress of Honduras for approval. Although its implementation is expected to take years, it is estimated that it will bring many benefits for the planet, the EU and Honduras.
Among the non-governmental organizations that participated in the negotiations are the Federation of Agro Forestry Producers of Honduras, (FEPROAH) and the indigenous organization MASTA, partners of the Forest Governance Project, developed by ICCO with financing from the European Union.