National workshop on certification and traceability in the DRC in Kinshasa.


The workshop was held on Thursday, October 01, 2020, with the opening by the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Claude Nyamugabo at the Caritas Welcome Center in Kinshasa.

This workshop was organized by the Federation of Timber Manufacturers (FIB) in collaboration with ATIBT through the FLEGT REDD, FLEGT IP and FLEGT certification projects, namely "Improving the integration of third party verified certification into FLEGT-REDD processes", projects awarded to ATIBT aimed at improving the legal level of companies through professional associations, project partners, and through the promotion of third party verified certification, to prepare them for the implementation of FLEGT VPAs.


A total of forty-eight participants (48) took part in the workshop, including representatives of the Administration, environmental civil society and the private forestry sector. The overall objective of the workshop was to improve the knowledge of the stakeholders of the Congolese FLEGT VPA on third party verified certification and computerised traceability systems, in a clear and simple way to improve forest governance in the DRC and facilitate the implementation of the Congolese LAS, a key element of the future FLEGT VPA.

Interventions were made or in person from Kinshasa and or virtually thanks to Zoom.


Before giving a go to the workshop proceedings, the Minister in charge of forests welcomed the initiative and indicated that the Government of the Republic is keen to put an end to illegality in the sector in order to influence the sustainable economic and social development of the DRC. With a view to this workshop, Mr. Claude Nyamugabo encouraged companies in their efforts to achieve traceability and voluntary certification, steps that contribute to improving the business climate, before committing to become involved in the implementation of the resolutions that will come out of this workshop.


Preceding the word of the Minister in charge of forests, Mr. Benoit Jobbe Duval welcomed the holding of this workshop. He indicated that his organization remains attentive in supporting the forest sector of the Congo Basin countries in the face of global issues related to forest governance and the legality of timber and associated trade. For Benoit Duval, the ATIBT advocates frank dialogue at the level of all stakeholders for sustainable solutions for the development of the forestry sector.


Having taken the floor first to welcome the participants, the President of FIB, Gabriel MOLA, thanked the Minister in charge of forests for having marked this workshop with his presence. He welcomed the Government's vision for the convening of the Etats Généraux de la Forêt, considering that this initiative will make it possible to continue and strengthen the forest sector reforms initiated by the Congolese Government since 2002, with a greater focus now on improving governance and transparency in the sector. He stressed that the results of the Estates General will be a prelude to the elaboration of the national forestry policy and the revision of the forestry code.  Like other countries in the sub-region involved in the FLEGT VPA, Gabriel Mola mentioned that the DRC will have to implement its legality verification system. Faced with global and national issues, particularly on forest certification and traceability, Gabriel Mola asked everyone, and particularly his members, to get more involved in order to meet the challenge.


During this workshop, two important topics were discussed: "traceability" and "certification".


The first speakers had to present the different traceability systems and specific software for a better control of the supply chain. Thus, in turn, the participants followed the specificities of the traceability tools Pallitrack, Kooper/GTS-Timbertrack, Radix tree and dataconcept-microwood. This allowed the participants to raise several concerns to which the speakers had to respond. The idea of synergy towards a national traceability system emerged as a captivating element for participants. These presentations were preceded by two other interventions respectively on the legality verification system made by Yvonne Sansa, VPA-DRC Focal Point and on the role of a traceability system for LAS presented by Caroline Duhesme, FLEGT-REDD-Certification Project Coordinator.


In the second session, the speakers discussed the various third-party verified certification systems that forestry companies can voluntarily commit to and the benefits they provide for business vitality. Coupled in two parts, the first speakers dwelt on the certificate of legality: Bureau Veritas for the OLB standard, Nepcon for the Legal Source standard and Control Union for the TLV standard, who presented each certification system separately while highlighting the differentiating elements and similarities on each of these certificates. Then the certifications of sustainable management: FSC and PEFC/PAFC. The companies were encouraged in their efforts towards certification for a better management of forest concessions. Before the presentations on certification, Eric Gitadi, DRC Flegt-Certification Referent gave a general presentation on certification and the links with the FLEGT-VPA.

The workshop was closed to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.