The second edition of the Gabon Woodshow took place in Libreville from 24 to 26 June 2019 . UFIGA welcomed to its stand Prime Minister Mr Nkoghe Bekalé, and Professor White, Minister of Forestry, the Sea and the Environment, in charge of the Climate Plan.
They discussed the unsustainable situation of wood products blocked for export from the port of Owendo, a major concern for UFIGA member companies.
On 25th of June, the new Minister visited both the harbour and the veneer company CEMA Gabon with all stakeholders. He noted the huge stocks of export-ready wood products. As the investigation into fraudulent timber continues, the Ministers of Forestry and Economy have decided to unblock the export of wood products, with priority given to third-party verified certified timber (FSC, PAFC/PEFC, and certificates of legal origin). The stock will start to decrease when the boats evacuate it. It is estimated that it could take 6 months to reach the usual stock level.
The Gabon Woodshow was also the occasion for ATIBT and its partner UFIGA to present the progress of the FLEGT, REDD+ and certification projects to the coordinator of the Program for Promotion of Certified Forest Exploitation (in French PPECF). In Gabon, where already 5 forestry companies have signed contracts with PPECF to benefit from coaching support in their process towards certification, and where 5 other companies have also expressed their interest in applying, the project progresses well.
This project has also made it possible to create a regulatory watch, a website for UFIGA, an inventory of private actors in the timber sector, and numerous advocacy activities for better forest governance through clear and applicable legislation in the field.
A second visit by the Minister to the UFIGA stand provided an opportunity to discuss the means implemented to facilitate the participation of forestry companies in a national traceability system. The PPECF coordinator and the Minister were thus able to get to know each other, which will certainly lead to a future visit of German cooperation to the Ministry of Forestry, the Sea and the Environment, responsible for the climate plan.
This year, Gabon Woodshow brought together some sixty companies involved in the forest-wood sector, several of which are members of the ATIBT. FSC organized a workshop on the certification process with the participation and presentation of the activities of the FLEGT-Certification referent Mr. Mouidy.