Publication Date
Publication Date: 
June 10, 2016

"This is not a story. It's not a beat. It's not an angle. This is a lifetime of reporting. The fate of the last great forests, and the people who depend on them, will be decided in the coming decades. Journalists like you will be key players in that momentous decision."

This resource is for journalists reporting on the European Union (EU) initiative to address illegal logging: the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Action Plan, or FLEGT. Developed by Internews' Earth Journalism Network in association with the EU FLEGT Facility, the guide provides background information, reporting tips, and links to more resources.

In brief, the EU FLEGT Action Plan aims to address illegal logging in all 28 EU Member States by strengthening sustainable and legal forest management, improving governance, and promoting trade in legally produced timber. The Action Plan includes a mix of demand- and supply-side measures in the EU and in timber-exporting countries in Africa, Asia, and South and Central America. It involves an array of actors, institutions, and businesses: governments, criminal justice systems and customs agencies, international organisations, the private sector (logging companies, furniture factories, and home décor showrooms), civil society, communities, and indigenous rights activists and forest officers. "[T]he principal intermediaries among these diverse stakeholders are the media. When a community is harmed by illegal logging, it's the media that has both the power and the responsibility to tell a furniture shopper if they had a part in the harm."

The content is organised in the following sections:

  • The Big Picture - provides the context for journalists' work on FLEGT. It explains why forests matter and why illegal logging persists, then introduces the economic, social, and environmental consequences of illegal logging.
  • FLEGT in Brief - answers the questions: Why? When? Where? Who? How? What? The Map of FLEGT projects gathers information on FLEGT-related projects worldwide and features video interviews with people who work on FLEGT in governments, the private sector, and civil society organisations (CSOs) in different countries.
  • FLEGT: Letter by Letter - explores each of the letters in the FLEGT acronym. It provides background information, examples, story ideas, and reporting tips about forests, law, enforcement, governance, and trade.
  • Seven Pillars of FLEGT - explains what each of the 7 elements of the EU FLEGT Action Plan aims to achieve. The pillars are: support to timber-producing countries; promotion of trade in legal timber products; public procurement policies; support to private-sector initiatives; investment and finance; use of legislation; and efforts to address conflict timber. This section describes progress to date and provides case studies and reporting tips.
  • Reporting on FLEGT - provides additional reporting tips and story ideas.
  • Beyond FLEGT - explains how FLEGT fits into the global picture, describes similar initiatives in other markets, and explains how FLEGT relates to forest certification and REDD+, the international scheme to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the forest sector.

The resource, in English, may be downloaded as a PDF translated into Burmese, French, or Spanish.

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