FLEGT Independent Market Monitoring (IMM)


IMM is a multi-year project implemented by ITTO and financed by the European Union (EU) to support implementation of bilateral Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA) between the EU and timber supplying countries.  VPAs are a key element of the EU’s Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan which defines the EU’s policy to promote legal logging and trade in legally licensed timber. Once agreed, the VPAs include commitments and action from both parties to develop a Legality Assurance System (LAS) which licenses timber and timber products for export to the EU.  IMM responds to requests for independent timber market monitoring from VPA partner countries and commitments to impact assessment made in the agreements.

Overall Objective

To monitor how the EU and wider international market for FLEGT licensed timber develops during the life of the VPA and to build on the opportunity presented by LAS development to improve the quality of timber trade statistics and effectiveness of timber market development programmes for legally licensed FLEGT timber.

Specific Objectives

• To collect, analyse, report and disseminate information on acceptance and trends of FLEGT-licensed timber on the EU market.
• To improve knowledge and understanding of the impacts of VPAs on timber prices, trade and market trends globally, especially with regard to VPA partner countries.
• To ensure VPA countries and the EC provide reliable statistics and information on FLEGT timber trade.
• To respond to requests and inform decisions by the VPA Joint Monitoring and Review Mechanism (JMRM) in Ghana and the Joint Implementation Committees (JICs) in other VPA countries by providing independent, timely and accurate information on market impact.
• To contribute to monitoring the impacts of the FLEGT Action Plan and to inform its implementation.
• To develop a long-term strategy for sustaining the IMM in consultation with the EU and VPA partner countries.


Oversight of IMM activities is provided by a project steering committee (PSC) comprising ITTO and EC representatives. As an integral component of impact monitoring and reporting requirements of the VPAs, IMM is establishing close working relationships with the JMRM in Ghana and JICs in other VPA countries.
A Lead Consultant based in Europe and supervised by ITTO is responsible for developing work plans and co-ordinating data collection and analysis.
ITTO is expanding its statistical and data analysis capacity, hosted in Japan, to align with the objectives of the IMM.
Building on ITTO’s existing network in tropical timber trading countries, IMM is establishing correspondents in each VPA partner country and in priority EU markets for VPA licensed timber. Correspondents are responsible for regular data collection and assessment of market conditions and product prices.
IMM is exploring the potential to establish a Sustainable Timber Information Exchange (STIX) for organisations, both from the public and private sector, which are actively engaged in market monitoring activities. STIX main focus will be on technical issues and exchange of information to: avoid duplication of research; encourage harmonisation of methodologies; and to identify information gaps and ways to overcome these.


As far as possible, IMM applies a single market monitoring format to all VPA partner countries while also taking into consideration country specific circumstances and needs. A documented set of procedures has been developed to ensure market analysis is consistent, objective and transparent.
A framework of indicators has been developed to allow quantitative assessment of market impacts. These include “global” indicators to monitor the market environment for all FLEGT VPA timber.  Examples include the market impacts of EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) implementation and the scope and content of public sector procurement policies. Other indicators monitor changing markets for VPA licensed timber from each VPA country, for example the volume and value of national trade flows and price premiums for specific indicator products.


FLEGT VPA Partners in EU Timber Trade 2014 to 2016
This report updates key forest resource and trade data contained in the IMM Baseline Report and summarises VPA Partner market trends between 2014 and 2016. The report aims to establish the baseline conditions for entry into the EU market of FLEGT licensed timber. Recognising that the first ever FLEGT licenses were issued by Indonesia in November 2016, the report includes additional commentary on the prospects for Indonesian timber in the EU market. The report also provides information on the status of EUTR implementation and the market position of FLEGT licensing in relation to private sector legality verification and certification initiatives. The report concludes with recommendations for future monitoring by IMM and FLEGT-related communication.
• Summary Report
• Main Report

IMM Baseline Report - Europe's changing tropical timber trade
This report establishes the baseline for long term monitoring of the market impacts of FLEGT Licensing, describing the market position of timber from VPA partner countries in the EU in 2013. The report quantifies VPA countries’ shares in relevant sections of the EU timber market including logs, sawnwood, decking, mouldings, veneer, plywood, joinery products, furniture, pulp and paper. It identifies and weights the wide range of factors impacting on the availability of tropical timber from VPA countries and the demand for these products in the EU.
• Main report (TS45)
• Review of Market Impact Factors 
• VPA Partner Statistical Annexes 
• Summary brochure of the main report

IMM Brochure (Version 1.1)

Describes the background, objectives, methodology and expected outputs of the IMM

ITTO Project Description
ITTO project document of December 2013 setting out the proposal for “Independent timber market monitoring: analysis of the reception of FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) licensed timber on the EU market as framed by VPAs (Voluntary Partnership Agreements) (DCI-ENV/2013/ 316-244”

IMM Organisation and Methodology (version 1.1)
This document responds to the requirement in FLEGT VPAs that IMM must operate in accordance to a documented methodology and procedure. It is a "living" document to be regularly reviewed with experience and on-going input from stakeholders. 
• Main document
• Annex 1: IMM Indicators
• Annex 2: IMM Data Sources

Report of IMM Side Event at ITTC-51

IMM hosted a Side Event at ITTC-51 in Kuala Lumpur on 18 November 2015. The Side Event highlighted the strong potential of the FLEGT VPA process to help overcome some of the most significant existing obstacles to market development for wood products from tropical countries. It suggested the IMM project is generating market intelligence that will help better target resources for market development and promotion of FLEGT-licensed when it becomes available. IMM Inception Report
Describes progress made during the IMM inception phase March 2014 to February 2015 to establish the framework for on-going market monitoring and to collect and analyse baseline data. It identifies needs and summarize priorities for action in 2015.

EU imports from VPA partner countries
Preliminary data (MS Excel format) on EU imports of timber and timber products from VPA Partner countries and from the top 10 supply countries. Data is categorised according to the EU Combined Nomenclature product codes including wood products (Chapter 44) and wood-based pulp (Chapter 47), paper (Chapter 48) and furniture (Chapter 94).
IMM EU timber imports database 2004-2014
For the sake of transparency, and to facilitate analysis of EU trade flows by other agencies, IMM makes available the full EU timber imports database (MS Access format) providing the basis for the IMM Baseline report and other IMM outputs. Data has been compiled from the Eurostat COMEXT bulk download facility and “cleaned” using procedures developed by the IMM Lead Consultant. Use of this database requires some knowledge of MS Access or similar relational database software. Users are advised to read the guidance notes before attempting to use this database.  
Preliminary IMM Assessment of the trade impact of EUTR
This report was prepared as IMM input into the EUTR Biennial Review and is a preliminary attempt to assess the trade impact of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) using publicly available timber production and trade statistics. The assessment concludes that there is no clear step-change in EU trade following implementation of EUTR and discusses the reasons for this. The report also highlights the limitations of trade flow analysis as a method of assessing the impact of the regulation.