GGSC, ITTO, GIZ and ATIBT have made a joint trip to the Congo Basin

8.03.2019
CHINA, COUNTRIES AND FORETS IN THE CONGO BASIN

This trip follows the first two meetings between the Chinese organization GGSC and ATIBT. It was intended to make GGSC better known to companies and partners in the timber sector in the Congo Basin.

Last November, we informed you about the first ATIBT meetings with the Chinese organizations GGSC (Global Green Supply Chain) and CTWPDA (Chinese Wood Timber Products Distribution Association).

Indeed, with more than 50% of the value of African forest production destined for China, the current and future impact of Chinese importers on Congo Basin forests is very high.

ATIBT carried out this mission in China to dialogue with the Chinese administration and importers and addressing the future of sustainable forest management in Central Africa.

This contact with Chinese actors introduced us to the GGSC project led by various Chinese organizations and ITTO, managed by Dr. Luo Xinjian of the Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAF). The project is in line with what the Chinese authorities are undertaking in terms of the new “ecological civilization” desired by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

For China’s timber industry, this is a new scheme designed to establish a sustainable purchasing policy for the timber sector.

This November meeting was followed by discussions during the 2nd ATIBT Think Tank in January 2019.

Field visits to producing countries were also desired by GGSC; a mission was therefore held between 25 February and 8 March 2019, with the aim of visiting Gabon, Congo and Cameroon, forest authorities, companies and various stakeholders in the timber industry. This mission was organized by ITTO and GIZ, with the support of ATIBT, which was associated with this trip.

With Dr. Luo Xinjiang, ITTO Executive Director Gerhard Dieterle was part of the trip, as well as Ralph Ridder from GIZ and several representatives from China’s wood industry (Power Dekor, Starforest Art Flooring and BNMMG Forests). ).

Among the main messages that the sector, public or private, including authorities, wished to send to GGSC, we can cite mainly:

(a) sustainably sourced wood necessarily costs more than illegal timber or even non-sustainable timber; we must therefore accept to pay the price,

(b) China certainly has the means to contribute substantially to the protection of biodiversity; it would be very positive that commitments be made for the Congo Basin,

(c) GGSC should take into account, as has been announced by the Head of Mission, Dr. Luo, all existing mechanisms including certification schemes,

(d) it is important to establish a clear definition of the rules to be followed by GGSC and finally

(e) a contribution is expected from GGSC for the eviction of the bad actors of the sector.

Many other points were raised with GGSC, notably concerning GGSC’s ambition to improve the sector and the wishes for development in Europe, or the desired mechanism (public or private). The next big step in the GGSC process is likely to be the Shanghai GGSC conference, which will take place in conjunction with the ATIBT forum, in the week of October 21st to 25th. It would be at this conference that the operating mechanism of GGSC would be announced.