Illegal or incompatible?

Strengthing livelihood considerations in forest policy development to enhance its effective implementation

Managing the consequences of international trade agreements on local livelihoods

The conservation and wise use of tropical forest resources is of global concern. The international debate has been focusing on the issue of illegal logging and the legality of timber as a contribution to sustainable management of forests. This is reflected in the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) initiative launched by the EU. Part of the initiative is the development of voluntary partnership agreements (VPA) with a number of important timber trade partner countries. Central to the VPA processes, and future VPA-based timber trade, is the use of (broadly accepted) Timber Legality Standards (TLS) in producer countries such as Ghana and Indonesia. Success of the VPAs requires the process to include wider social and environmental issues around forestry. Two important question here are: how will the enforcement of agreed TLS affect the lives of rural communities, especially those dependent on timber extraction and trade for their livelihoods? In case the activities of these forest users are not conform the law, are they just illegal or can we talk about a certain incompatibility between a legitimate local demand for access to resources, and current forest legislation and policies that are denying forest-dependent communities a fair share?

The “Illegal or Incompatible?” Project aims to strengthen livelihood considerations in forest policy development to enhance its effective implementation. The specific project objective is to develop broadly supported governance mechanisms that manage the consequences of VPA legal timber legality standards on local livelihoods and to strengthen the capacity of stakeholders to (re)negotiate institutional arrangements for sustainable resource use in Ghana and Indonesia.