Session 5

Poverty reduction

What tangible impact has FLEGT action had on poverty alleviation?

Facilitators: Yann Petrucci and Marlen Arkesteijn

Context and background

The EU FLEGT Action Plan pays a lot of attention to its immediate objectives of timber legality and the overall objective of ‘improved forest governance'. Less attention is paid to the overall Development Co-operation objective of poverty reduction, despite its prominence in the 2003 Conclusion of the Council of the European Union (2003/C268/01) regarding FLEGT. The EU FLEGT Action Plan does not clearly identify measures to tackle poverty, and little work has been commissioned on this subject. The main conclusions of one of the few studies on poverty in FLEGT (Hobley and Buchy 2013) are:

  • The understanding of poverty as reflected in VPAs and FLEGT actions is weak;
  • There is a need for systematic attention to poverty issues, from preparation of VPAs to their negotiation to implementation
  • There are three dimensions for poverty reduction in FLEGT action:
    • Secure access to livelihood assets
    • Human agency –capability to have a voice and influence decisions in appropriate forums
    • Changes to the rules of the game (laws, policies, decision-making processes) to support poor people's livelihoods.

These three dimensions will be used as a basis for the discussion and as a support for stakeholders to provide their views on poverty alleviation.

Objectives and outcomes

  • Participants share experiences and perceptions of poverty reduction actions and achievements
  • Participants share ideas on how FLEGT ­and VPAs­ could tackle better poverty reduction objectives and how the three dimensions of poverty described should be addressed
  • Participants suggest practical indicators that could be used to assess poverty reduction

Main questions

  1. What evidence is there that FLEGT action has helped reduce poverty? What dimensions of poverty have been addressed and through what mechanisms?   
  2. How have the preparation and the implementation of the VPAs been relevant to addressing poverty?
  3. How could the EU FLEGT AP better address the poverty challenges?
  4. Should poverty alleviation become a more explicit objective of the EU FLEGT AP, and if so, what indicators of achievement would be most practical and useful? 

Target audience

  • Civil society and NGO members
  • Producer countries representatives
  • Member States and EU representatives involved in the implementation of the EU FLEGT AP
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