As part of the implementation of ATIBT FLEGT projects, Caroline Duhesme carried out a mission at the beginning of February to assist the ATIBT Congo team on the implementation of the activities, particularly the consultation on the draft Forest Code, and follow-up of certification diagnostics (PPECF program).
The ATIBT implements various projects aimed at improving the involvement of the private sector in the FLEGT process, especially in the VPAs (through FLEGT-REDD and FLEGT IP projects, FAO project in Congo), and in certification (thanks to collaboration with the PPECF). These projects are implemented in Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, DRC and Ivory Coast.
In Congo, these projects are being implemented by the ATIBT Congo team, which has been operational since July 2018. The support mission to this team, conducted by Caroline Duhesme from 1 to 7 February 2019, was an opportunity to monitor the progress of activities (see also articles here and here).
The team seized the follow-up of the draft forest code (through the FAO project). After supporting the writing of a joint letter with the trade unions to the attention of the Prime Minister (November 2018), a new version of the draft was obtained. The latter proves that the approach of the private sector and many others (including civil society and donors), have had a significant effect since the four main dispositions which concerns companies, two and not the less, were withdrawn: it is the disposition concerning the prohibition to companies with 100% foreign capital to exercise in the Congo and the royalty of 15% on the turnover.
However, many other dispotions still cause concern in the absence of consultation and impact assessment, and the ATIBT Congo continues to mobilize stakeholders to define coordinated action, beyond individual initiatives, get a revision of the law project.
Concerning the implementation of the FLEGT-Certification activities, the ATIBT Congo also participated in the first certification diagnosis in the SIFCO company with the technical assistance of the PPECF, as part of their certification coaching program. The FLEGT-Certification referent is also taking steps to motivate other companies to apply for this process.
The team also implements the other activities of the projects:
- Implementation of a legal and informational watch to better inform private sector actors;
- Launch of the private sector inventory study (currently in the process of selecting candidates);
- State of play of certification recognition in the TLAS;
- Define the next training actions for the private sector (about FLEGT, certification), targeting in particular companies with Asian capital
Through these activities, the ATIBT Congo team asserts its position as a private sector unavoidable actor to support the forest companies’ advocacy, to contribute to the facilitation of the implementation of the VPA, and to provide forest companies with support third-party certification.