Myanmar’s forests gain visibility through PEFC membership
19 June 2019 PEFC system news
“We are delighted to welcome the Myanmar Forest Certification Committee (MFCC) as our 51st national member of the PEFC Alliance,” said Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International.
“It is great to see that the collaboration with MFCC has been successful and has already led to the acceptance of Myanmar as a member.”
We are collaborating with MFCC on a three-year project to support the country as it transitions to the sustainable management of its forests. The project is co-funded by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.
“Forest management is not a matter of one country or one region anymore. It becomes a global synergy,” said Barber Cho, Secretary General of MFCC.
“By becoming a PEFC member, we send a message to the world and show our commitment to sustainable forest management through an internationally recognized system.”
The work goes on
“Becoming a PEFC member is not the end, but the beginning of the story for MFCC,” Mr. Cho continued, re-emphasizing MFCC’s aim of establishing a national forest certification system in line with PEFC requirements in the next years.
Since the beginning of the joint project, MFCC has established a multi-stakeholder platform to facilitate better coordination and exchange and share experiences amongst forest sector actors.
MFCC launched Myanmar’s third party timber certification system in August 2018, marking phase one of the Myanmar Timber Legality Assurance System (MTLAS).
The importance of forest certification in Myanmar
Forest certification and sustainable forest management are of special importance in Myanmar. In the last thirty years, forest cover in Myanmar has fallen from 60% to 40%. Mainly due to the period of military rule, when forests were managed for economic return rather than long-term sustainability.
“Myanmar went through a chaotic period from 1988 to 2010 during which the rampant deforestation had a negative impact on the country’s forest management,” explained Mr. Cho.
At the same time, forest resources have an enormous value for the people in Myanmar. With the majority of the population living below the poverty line, they are heavily dependent on forests for their basic needs.