Retreat for Timber Legality Definition on Conversion Areas (TLD2)
On 13-14th August 2018, a retreat was held at Napakuang Resort in Thalad, Vientiane Province, to discuss the progress made regarding Timber Legality Definition (TLD 2) on Conversion Areas and to address remaining gaps and inconsistencies in the draft, e.g. concerning approval procedures for forestland conversion areas or state investment projects. After additional consultation meetings with the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) on 23rd August 2018 and a one-day core expert meeting, the advanced draft TLD 2 was submitted to the EU at end of October for further feedback.
The retreat, the fourth of its kind, was attended by representatives from MPI (Department of Planning and Department of Investment Promotion), Center for Development and Environment (CDE), Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy), Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (Department of Forestry: Forest Inventory and Planning Division, and Production Forest Management Division; Department of Forest Inspection: Legislation and Forest Inspection Policy Division), Civil Society Organisations (Lao Biodiversity Association and Wildlife Conservation Association) and the ProFLEGT component of the German Development Cooperation programme Protection and Sustainable Use of Forest Ecosystems and Biodiversity (ProFEB), implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
The term Conversion Areas refers to the conversion of natural forest areas to plantation or non-forest use, e.g. in the context of infrastructure development, mining, or hydropower. Underlying use rights may be granted through lease or concession agreements from the state. Land clearing during these conversions is currently one of the main sources of timber in Laos. As a consequence, TLD 2 focuses on ensuring project developers’ compliance with environmental and social obligations as well as the approval of conversion and concession agreements in accordance with national laws and regulations. In addition, other stages of supply chain control such as sales and transportation are considered.