A collaborative approach to forest certification in the Congo Basin
19 December 2019 Event report
Stakeholders gathered in Libreville, Gabon, earlier this month for a workshop that launched the development of the sustainable forest management standard of the PAFC Congo Basin regional forest certification system.
Working under the common name PAFC (Pan-African Forest Certification), our three national members in the region, PAFC Cameroon, PAFC Congo (Republic of Congo) and PAFC Gabon, have joined forces to develop a regional certification system called PAFC Congo Basin.
Two PEFC international stakeholder members have also a role in this regional initiative. ATIBT is the project leader and Olam is a member of the workshop representing the interest of Congolese industry.
The workshop marked the start of the development of the regional sustainable forest management standard. Over the five days, stakeholders representing the social, environmental and economic pillars from the three countries discussed the content of the standard, with the support of regional experts.
“The PAFC standard under development for the Congo Basin has not only listed the major themes to be taken into account in forest management, but has also added new elements related to current issues, such as carbon storage,” said Vincent Istace, Olam, a member of the workshop.
“This concept is innovative compared to other standards in use in the region. Indeed, the PAFC reference framework requires the implementation of a stakeholder engagement plan. In this sense, certification can be seen as an opportunity to reach out to all stakeholders to jointly reflect on environmental and social issues at the landscape level.”
Give your feedback on the regional system of PAFC Congo Basin
The public consultation is open from 13 December 2019 until 14 February 2020, to forest management stakeholders interested in participating in the process.
A new collaborative approach
The innovative collaboration allows the three organizations to pool their financial and human resources while sharing their knowledge. The management of the system will be centralized and administered by a single regional coordinator, increasing the efficiency of the regional system’s implementation and facilitating external communication.
“A unique forest certification system for the region, it will enable auditors to cover all three countries of PAFC Congo Basin and advance the goal of achieving 100% certification of Gabonese forest by 2024,” highlighted Rose Ondo, National Secretary of PAFC Gabon.
“Gabon has made real progress in certification, thanks to the decision of our authorities to require the forest companies to be certified by 2022, which is why the workshop was held here. As a representative of Gabonese industry, Precious Woods brought their experience in both sustainable forest management and chain of custody certification under the PAFC Gabon system to the workshop,” Rose explained.
PAFC Congo Basin system development is led by ATIBT and supported by the PAFC members. The project is co-funded by PEFC and PPECF (Programme de Promotion de l’Exploitation Certifiée des Forêts), a joint programme of KFW Development Bank and COMIFAC.