The event participants discussed several topics with a special focus on programmes of the EU Timber Regulations (EUTR) controls by the Competent Authorities (CA) from the EU Member States (EU MS), experience in criminal investigations of operators suspected of placing illegal wood and its products on the EU market, status and needs for the EUTR approximation of forest legislation of the Western Balkans, examples of due diligence systems (DDS) and their implementation as well as EUTR monitoring organizations, example of Chain of Custody (CoC) certification standards for assuring legality and due diligence.
EU MS experts shared and discussed case studies from Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia and Slovenia. Representatives of relevant organizations, namely Preferred by Nature, Research Center on Security and Crime, Consorzio Servizi Legno-Sughero shared their experience with participants concerning DDS, forest certification audits, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) schemes.
The workshop concluded with several findings and recommendations for the Beneficiaries to put more effort on in future activities:
- main shortcomings were identified in terms of fulfilment of the EUTR/DDS requirements in addition to needs for more effective coverage of those requirements by the EU operators/ importers and needs for better control function of the EU MS CA,
- main conclusions of the EU TREES Project were brought up in relation to EUTR and forest crimes in Western Balkans,
- risk assessment and conclusions on ‘negligible’ risk brought up,
- common challenges in terms of forest certification audits and CoC.