Helping stakeholders to establish forest certification in the Philippines
National system development
The loss of forest cover is a major problem in the Philippines. The country ranks fourth among the world’s most threatened forest hotspots, and at a deforestation rate of 157,400 hectares a year, the remaining forest cover will be wiped out in less than 40 years.
While the Filipino government is implementing reforestation measures, their efforts have not yet been enough to slow the rapid rate of deforestation.
To boost the effectiveness of the government’s efforts, the country needs the active participation of forestry-related stakeholders. The establishment of a strategic partnership between the government and other stakeholders is therefore vital in order to transform the industry, making it more sustainable while providing inclusive growth to the local economy.
In the Philippines, forest certification is seen as an opportunity to push for sustainable forest management policy within the country, while providing an incentive for government, communities and industry to work together for the conservation and protection of the forests.
Over the last few years, stakeholders have begun working towards the development of a national forest certification system, including a policy study undertaken by the University of the Philippines Los Banos College of Forestry and Natural Resources.
A big step forward came in 2015 as a group of forestry organizations agreed to establish a National Governing Body – the organization responsible for running the national system. The NGB for the Philippine Sustainable Forest Certification System (PSFCS) was officially established one year later.
PEFC certification in the Philippines
With the Filipino NGB established, focus switched to the development of a national forest certification system for the country. Through the 2016 Collaboration Fund, we are helping stakeholders as they launch the national system development process.
The project is supporting the local stakeholders as they develop the guidelines, procedures and standards required for the implementation of the Philippine Sustainable Forest Certification System (PSFCS), which will eventually be submitted to PEFC for endorsement.
Capacity building forms a vital part of this project. This includes training for the NGB, certification body auditors, accreditation body representatives and other key relevant stakeholders, to equip them with the knowledge needed for the successful implementation and running of a national forest certification system.
The project will also engage with the country’s forest owners and farmers, increasing their knowledge and skills to help them achieve sustainable forest management certification, in particular through group certification.
An Information, Education and Communication (IEC) campaign will also be conducted for both public and forestry stakeholders, focusing on forest certification, sustainable forest management and sustainable consumption and production.