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PEFC in the Republic of Congo moves a step closer at PEFC Week

Dec 17 2014

congoagreementThe development of a national forest certification system in the Republic of Congo for eventual PEFC endorsement was the subject of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on Thursday 20 November in Paris, France, during the PEFC Forest Certification Week.

On the day of the PEFC Stakeholder Dialogue, Gregoire Nkeoua, Special Councilor to the Minister on Forestry (on behalf of his Excellency Henri Djombo), from the Ministry of Forest Economy and Sustainable Development (MEFDD) of the Republic of Congo; Ralph Ridder, Director of Association Technique Internationale des Bois Tropicaux (ATIBT); Romain Lorent, Manager of the PPECF-COMIFAC (Programme for the Promotion of Certified Timber Operations); and Ben Gunneberg, Secretary General of PEFC International, gathered to sign the MoU.

Developed jointly by ATIBT and MEFDD, the MoU includes the terms of reference for the development of the national forest certification system of PAFC Congo. In line with PEFC’s standard setting requirements, the forest management standard will be developed through a multi-stakeholder process, ensuring balanced representation and consensus throughout its development. This project will have a maximum duration of three years.

Congolese forests are a vital resource, both for the Congolese people and the global environment. About 40 million rural Congolese depend on the forests for their food, income, energy, shelter, medicines, and cultural needs, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Indigenous groups, including the Pygmies, rely almost entirely on the forests. Described as the “second lung” of the planet for their ability to store carbon dioxide on a global scale, the Congolese forests serve an important public good. The forests also harbor amazing animal and plant diversity including endemic species such as Bonobo chimpanzees and the Okapi.

Promoting sustainable management in this largest remaining natural swath of rainforests in Africa is critical, both for securing the well-being of millions of poor people who are forest-dependent, and ensuring the viability of these unique assets.

“The signing of this MoU is the result of a lot of hard work from all the parties involved,” said Rémi Sournia, Projects & Development Officer at PEFC International. “And while we know there is still a great deal of work to be done beforehand, we already look forward to welcoming the Republic of Congo as the third African PEFC member and to the eventual submission of their system for PEFC endorsement as a significant milestone to promote sustainable forest management through forest certification in the country.”

Through the signing of this MoU, PPECF is joining the support already provided by FFEM (Fond Français pour l’Environnement Mondial) through PEFC International Stakeholder member ATIBT to finance the development of the national forest certification system of the Republic of Congo.

Further Information

For more information, please contact Remi Sournia for PEFC International or Marine Leblanc for ATIBT.

PEFC Certified

Forests area: 300 million ha
Forest owners: > 750,000
Companies (CoC): > 18,800

(as of December 2016)
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