In response to President Ali Bongo’s announcement on mandatory FSC certification for all concessions, the economist Alain Karsenty, forest specialist and CIRAD researcher, gives us his analysis of the legal institutionalization of certification.His article discusses the gradual process of institutionalizing certification and issues related to the integration of private instruments into a national policy.
Forest certification is a voluntary system, based on consumers’ willingness to pay more for a legal timber produced from “sustainable” logging. The FSC is therefore independent of the states and remains focused on a business-to-business approach. Initially, the States looked at these initiatives with suspicion and then after the significant increase of the certified surfaces in the subregion, began to be inspired by the principles and criteria of the certification for their own legislations. The Gabonese president’s decision is another step in the use of private instruments for public regulation purposes. The implications of this choice are political and developed in the analysis made by Alain Karsenty, in particular the balance of power between Chinese and Indian companies.