Countries that implement the VPA: six countries have concluded the VPA negotiations and are implementing their agreements with the EU: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Ghana, Liberia, Indonesia, Republic of Congo Although no country has yet begun licensing FLEGT, two countries – Ghana and Indonesia – are close to this goal.   This platform was created in collaboration with the FAO-EU FLEGT programme as part of the EU-funded Multifunctional Landscape Management Project in Sub-Saharan Africa: Managing The Trade-Offs between Social and Environmental Impact (GML). VPAs are voluntary for timber-exporting countries. However, once a VPA has come into force, it is legally binding on both parties. A key element of the FLEGT action plan is a voluntary scheme to ensure that only legally harvested timber is imported into the EU from countries that agree to participate in the scheme. Second, unlike most other trade agreements, the two sides negotiate on the same objectives: the elimination of illegal timber and improved forest management. The VPA aims to ensure that wood and by-products exported to the EU come from legal sources. The agreements also help timber-exporting countries end illegal logging by improving the regulation and governance of the forestry sector. Seven countries have signed a VPA with the EU and are currently developing the systems needed to control, verify and license legal timber.
One of them, Indonesia, issues FLEGT authorizations. These countries are called VPA partner countries. Combating illegal logging, The Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, EuropeAid The EU`s internal legal framework for this scheme is regulation (EC) no Regulation (EC) No 2173/2005 of the Council of 20 December 2005 (FLEGT Regulation) and the Implementation Regulation (EC) No 1024/2008 of the Commission of 17 October 2008 authorising the control of access to eu timber from countries that enter into bilateral FLEGT partnership agreements with the EU. Under the agreement, the VPAs include commitments and measures by both parties to end the illegal timber trade, in particular with a licensing system in the partner country and the granting of FLEGT permits attesting to the legality of timber exported to the EU. In order to grant FLEGT authorisations, a VPA partner country must set up a wood legal insurance system (TLAS) and other measures defined in the VPA. When a TLAS is fully operational, it is both robust and credible, with effective supply chain controls, compliance verification mechanisms and independent audits. A VPA-TLAS is based on a practical definition of legality agreed upon by participatory processes involving government, private sector and civil society stakeholders.