In November 2010, Gabon initiated negotiations with the European Union (EU) with a view to signing a FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (FLEGT VPA).
Due to its purpose, the FLEGT negotiations between Gabon and the EU are led by the Minister in charge of Forests who is supported by a Technical Consultation Committee (CTC) bringing together representatives of public administrations, the Private Sector and the Civil society.
These negotiations took place almost normally until 2012, then they experienced a period of virtual suspension due to difficulties in the implementation of the Road Map established by mutual agreement between Gabon and the European Union.
In 2015, and under the aegis of the Agency for the Execution of Forestry Activities (AEAFFB), negotiations were relaunched thanks to funding from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Fund (AFO) , through the ACP FLEGT Program, then the European Development Fund (EDF) as part of the Sector Governance Support Program (PAGOS).
Between 2010 and 2012, the two European and Gabonese parties worked on the development of a legality grid, the definition of the perimeter of the FLEGT VPA in Gabon as well as the legal sources. These points were noted during the negotiation session which took place in Brussels in October 2011. As soon as negotiations resumed in 2015, several actions were carried out including:
the dry test of the legality grid, in March-April 2015;
the study with a view to establishing a Verification System for the Legality of Timber and Derived Products in Gabon, in July 2016;
the validation workshop of the FLEGT Gabon-EU VPA legality grid, in July 2016.
the study on the establishment of a national traceability system as part of the FLEGT VPA process in Gabon, in August 2016;
Based on lessons learned from other Congo Basin countries involved in FLEGT VPAs, the CTC FLEGT VPA Gabon was also engaged in splitting and simplifying the legality grid. This action aimed, on the one hand, to develop legality tables by legal source of wood; and on the other hand, to reduce the number of indicators which can make the use of legality grids difficult.
In 2016, Gabon launched the development of the Water and Forests Code which makes quite significant modifications compared to Law 16/01 of December 31, 2001, establishing the Forestry Code, in force.
In view of the overlapping of the Forest Code and the FLEGT VPA negotiations, the work of the CTC was suspended pending the adoption and promulgation of the Water and Forest Code which was presented during the session of the Council of Ministers of February 26, 2019 then to the National Assembly in May 2019.