First Latin American responsible wood product trade summit

A Latin American Summit organised by the Global Timber Forum (GTF) marked the first time national and regional associations representing small to medium-sized wood product businesses (SMEs) from across the continent had convened to discuss the  challenges and opportunities of responsible trade.
 
Held late November, the Latam Summit was backed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), through the FAO and European Union (EU) Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Program.
 
The two-day event drew 60 delegates.
 
Areas of discussion included competitiveness and market access, impacts of regulation, regional trade flow data,incentives for forest conservation, effective traceability systems and independent forest monitoring.
 
Delegates also reviewed examples of government, communities and business working together on responsible trade in the region. This included examination of the EU FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA) of Honduras and Guyana and the Inter-Sectorial Pact for Wood in Colombia. Also discussed were community technical units in Peru, timber traceability systems in Guatemala and Honduras and the alliance to stop illegal logging between Belize and Guatemala.
 
“Given the realities of engaging with small businesses across complex supply chains, it's only by convening that their associations will strengthen responsible trade," said GTF executive director Rachel Butler at the opening of the summit. "This event will also allow for the participation of other important stakeholders so a strong consensus can emerge across the region.”
 
"It will allow exchange of ideas and experiences regarding latest advances in trade with high environmental and social standards," added FAO Forestry Officer, Guillermo Navarro. "It is also important that we're able to identify  barriers faced by the wood products industries in the region. By providing these opportunities for dialogue we can help connect the region on all these issues.”