As long as Myanmar does not improve the accountability process in teak harvest and production, it will be impossible for teak buyers to be entirely satisfied on the legality of the timbers offered for export, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) reported.
The agency has also called for stricter control and greater transparency. It says Myanmar has been striving to ensure forest conservation and the production of verifiably legal timber, yet still cannot create a supply chain reporting system that satisfies international standards.
Burmese analysts say the EIA report does not reflect reality, neither does it give due credit for the efforts made to implement recommendations stated in the report, Myanmar Timber Legality Assurance System (MTLAS) Gap Analysis of April 2017.
The latest EIA report also highlights that Myanmar’s pristine forests are under real and urgent threat. European companies have also failed to satisfy the due diligence requirements of the EUTR in respect of teak imports from Myanmar.
Furthermore the actions of some government departments in Myanmar have made it impossible to access information that can prove teak’s legality. This means that teak importers find it very difficult to comply with regulations aimed at eliminating illegal timber from the supply chain.
Myanmar’s Forestry Department has also recently suspended the sale of confiscated low quality hand hewn timber. However, confiscated timber—especially high quality ones—is being sold by the Myanma Timber Enterprise (MTE).
Locals should also participate in combating illegal logging, particularly as the Forestry Department is facing a shortage of skilled staff for the job. The Director of Forestry in Magwe Region called for civil society organisations to play an important role in enhanced forest governance. Their involvement in the VPA negotiations is vital.