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Latvian Forest Certification System Achieves PEFC Endorsement

Mar 23 2011

© World BankPEFC International is pleased to announce the endorsement of the Revised Latvian Forest Certification System.

"The endorsement by PEFC confirms that the Latvian forest management standard meets international requirements while respecting local culture," said Mr. Arnis Muižnieks, Chairman of the PEFC Latvia Council. "In countries such as Latvia, where forests contribute to the livelihoods of one in five families, respect for local traditions and practices within the framework of forest management standards is especially important for the successful promotion of responsible forestry."

Forest covers more than 55% of the Latvian territory and has doubled during the last 50 years. Approximately half of the forests in Latvia are owned by private, family forest owners, with an average forest property size of less than 10 hectares.

"In addition to the significant environmental and social benefits that the Latvian forests offer, the forest sector employs more than 83,000 people and is of increasing importance for the Latvian economy in general. Recognition by PEFC provides access to markets demanding certified timber and offers the potential to yield higher prices," explained Mr. Muižnieks.

National forest certification systems that have developed standards in line with PEFC requirements can apply for endorsement by PEFC International. To achieve endorsement, they need to meet PEFC's Sustainability Benchmarks, which are based on broad societal consensus expressed in international, intergovernmental, multi-stakeholder processes and guidelines. Compliance is confirmed through third-party assessment of national requirements with the international benchmarks, with a global public consultation seeking input from stakeholders worldwide.

The Latvian scheme originally achieved endorsement in 2001, but failed to demonstrate compliance for its revised scheme in 2008 and consequently lost its endorsement status. PEFC is the only global forest certification system that limits the duration of endorsements and requires regular revisions of national schemes.

"Achieving PEFC endorsement yet again marks an important moment for forest owners in Latvia, and we hope to soon see the first forest managers successfully demonstrating compliance with PEFC requirements and obtain certification," concluded Mr. Muižnieks.

PEFC Certified

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

(as of March 2017)
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