PEFC FOR-TRADE: driving forestry and trade for development in the ASEAN region
4 February 2021 Campaign
Asia’s forests represent 15% of the global total, but with the region’s population set to grow dramatically in the coming years, these forests face an uncertain future. As demand increases, but space decreases, it is critical to safeguard these forests by mainstreaming sustainable forestry and trade.
PEFC’s work and presence in the region has increased considerably in the last five years. China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Myanmar are all PEFC members, while the Philippines is in the process of establishing a PEFC-recognized national forest certification system.
Alongside policy and institutional reform, forest certification has become a powerful tool to limit illegal logging and to promote sustainable forest management and responsible timber trade in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region.
Certification is increasingly seen as a desirable enhancer to trade, providing smoother market access. However, if no national certification system is in place, companies and countries can struggle to conduct business across borders and are left more vulnerable to illegal timber trade.
Despite widespread recognition of the market benefits of national forest certification systems, progress to establish them across ASEAN countries has been slow and uneven.
FOR-TRADE: Forestry and Trade for Development in the ASEAN region
In response, the PEFC FOR-TRADE (Forestry and Trade for Development in the ASEAN region) initiative works to enhance the development and rollout of national forest certification systems in the ASEAN region.
The initiative aims to strengthen trade through the institutionalization of forest certification infrastructure, supporting the reduction of trade barriers, promoting sustainable wood trade, improving livelihoods, and contributing to biodiversity protection.
This is done through three phases, enabling a continuous improvement cycle that began at Asia Pacific Forest Week in 2016 and continued with other trainings, workshops, and Asia Pacific Forest Week in 2019.
In the first phase we conduct a country-by-country participatory assessment to plan the interventions to improve forest certification infrastructure, in line with the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). This informs the country and regional level workplans.
The second phase will concentrate on implementing these planned interventions to develop the certification infrastructure. The third phase is to review the interventions then to make recommendations for mainstreaming into partner and stakeholders long term policy and work plans.
FOR-TRADE focuses on the least developed ASEAN countries with UN-REDD
Since 2020, the PEFC FOR-TRADE initiative has been working with the UN-REDD Programme as a key partner for their newly launched initiative "Sustainable Forest Trade in the Lower Mekong Region (SFT-LMR)."
The aim of the SFT-LMR initiative is to promote trade and sustainable forest management (SFM) and reduce pressure on forests through improved governance in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The SFT-LMR initiative is implemented by FAO and UNEP, with funding from the Government of Norway. Key outcomes include the development of national forest certification systems and related quality infrastructure mechanisms.
The PEFC framework will be used to deliver several outputs that include deepening intra-regional cooperation, strengthening national certification standards, and building national capacities in forest governance, sustainable forest management, and trade.
More information about the PEFC FOR-TRADE project’s work with the UN-REDD Programme can be found below: