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Development of a workshop by consultants with European Union expertise : “Compliance of Forestry Law in Honduras”

Zamorano’s goal is to contribute to Honduran forestry value chains’ compliance with legal principles implemented by the European Union.

With the purpose of inquiring about the complexity addressed in the “Voluntary Agreement of Association (AVA-FLEGT) for the legal compliance of forestry in Honduras, and addressing the array of participants in forestry chains, a workshop entitled “Effort levels in compliance with forestry laws in Honduras” with expert consultants was conducted. The initiative has been implemented by Zamorano within the framework of an agreement with AVA-FLEGT Honduras, financed by the European Union (EU) through The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) under the program “FAO EU FLEGT”.

The FLEGT action plan is a mechanism created by the EU to guarantee that the wood products traded within the European bloc are legally sourced. This means that the products must comply with regulations of the issuing country as regards wooden product control. This is an initiative to be implemented by Zamorano that will enable our institution to help Honduras achieve legal status of its wood and forest products.

The project will include a methodology and a guide to evaluate legal compliance of forest value chains. In particular, two value chain values will be analyzed, one originating in forest plantations of Valle de Sula and the other in the municipality of Campamento, Olancho where an artisan door industry exists that is critical for Honduras. The goal will be to develop a strategy for promoting a legal and competitive forestry business, as well as to strengthen the technical capacities of professional evaluators.

The primary activity of the workshop has been to distill the critera of national and foreign experts in determining challenges and solutions, with the goal of certifying a level of legality of Honduras’ wood in all the value chains, taking into consideration especially the variety of participants. In addition, group work was organized around discussions of the implications of the implementation of the agreement AVA-FLEGT.

For Ing. Tenorio, Zamorano´s Director of the Environment and Development Department (IAD), forest legality is an extremely important indicator for obtaining the Objectives of Sustainable Development (ODS). “In a forested country like  Honduras, it is critical that the forest and water resources are carefully managed in compliance with national laws”, she shared.

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An analysis of the levels of effort necessary by each distinct level of participant in the forestry value chain will allow us to define individualized group strategies. Feedback from consultants formerly engaged revealed that the first link participants in the value chain are the ones who must make the most considerable efforts. There first link participants are the wood producers, and they have the most significant challenges in attaining legality of the wood products.

Figure No. 1 shows scoring by the experts.  The highest ratings represent the largest efforts in complying with what was established by the AVA agreement’s legality tables. It reveals a necessity to perform a separate analysis for the individual chain participants, as well to define strategies to facilitate legal compliance.

Figure 1. Expert´s appraisal of compliance challenges vis-a-vis legality by participant type.

In addition, there was a discussion about encountering problems that would make legal compliance challenging, and an exploration of possible solutions.  Among the principal aspects reviewed with the experts are the ones established by principle 4 of FLEGT/Honduras, which requires that forest sector employers comply with labor obligations and standards of hygiene and occupational security.

This principle establishes compliance regulations including necessitating an employee being registered with the social security system, minimum wage requirements and the use of personal security equipment. Some alternatives were explored to help solve problems that were identified.  These alternatives serve as base to launch the proposal for the promotion of legality and competitiveness in forestry chains in Honduras.

Representatives of FAO EU FLEGT were present, as well as the Forestry Conservation Institute (ICF), Honduran Municipality Association (AMHON), Rainforest Alliance, Aldea Global, Independent Forestry Monitoring, Central American Bank of Economic Integration (BCIE), Green Wood Foundation, European Forest Institute (EFI) and independent consultants. Once the workshop was completed, participants pledged to support the initiative as well as the Voluntary Association Agreement (AVA).

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