Session 2

Conflict timber

Facilitators: Catherine Mackenzie, Paul Zambon


Context and background

Conflict timber was a live issue when the EU FLEGT Action Plan was being developed in the early 2000s. Then, rebels fighting the government in Sierra Leone were being funded by the revenues of illegal logging by Charles Taylor's regime in neighbouring Liberia, and the conflict threatened to destabilise the region. UN sanctions in the latter years of the conflict prohibited trade in this timber. At the same time, the illegal exploitation of other natural resources, notably diamonds, was also receiving attention as sources of funding for corrupt governments or rebel groups to fund their conflicts. Subsequently, international action on conflict or ‘blood diamonds' resulted in the Kimberley Process, which has largely stemmed that flow. However, similar sustainable and industry-led actions have not been achieved for conflict timber, and overall, little work has been done on it under the FLEGT AP since 2003, despite its continued use in funding or causing conflicts in several parts of the world. Why? 

This session will build on the ‘Information Session' of Tuesday 17 March. 

Objectives and outcomes

  • Participants contribute information and assessments of the actions, achievements and outcomes; relevance, gaps and shortcomings related to FLEGT actions on conflict timber.
  • Participants understand why little work has actually been attempted and achieved, FLEGT not delivered and how future FLEGT processes and VPAs could better address conflict timber issues.

Main questions

  1. What was the overall objective of FLEGT-related work on conflict timber?
  2. Were the four indicative actions relevant, necessary and sufficient? What else could have been done?
  3. What work has been done under the EU FLEGT Action Plan what has been achieved and why (actors, factors)?
  4. How well has FLEGT (EC/Member States) collaborated with other international initiatives relating to conflict timber?
  5. Should actions on conflict timber be part of a future FLEGT? If yes, what should be done?

Target audience

  • Delegates from countries with history of conflict timber (for example Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Myanmar, Cambodia)
  • Delegates with experience in the design and implementation actions on conflict timber (including but not limited to FLEGT actions) or with other conflict resources
  • Delegates with interest in indigenous resource rights and the role of VPAs in promoting those rights and preventing future conflicts
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