A contract to support private sector involvement in the FLEGT VPA process in the Republic of Congo was signed on January 12, 2021 between EFI (under FCDO funding) and ATIBT.
With the aim of improving the sustainable management of its forest resources, the Republic of Congo embarked in 2008 on the negotiation of a FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union. The agreement officially entered into force on 1 March 2013.
In Congo, the private forestry sector is particularly heterogeneous. There is a diversity of foreign-owned operators, from the North to the South of Congo, implementing profoundly different business strategies, ranging from third-party certification of sustainable management to the absence of a forest management plan (the first step towards sustainable and legal management). Alongside these operators with foreign capital, national operators are trying to find their place in the same export-oriented timber markets. The artisanal sector supplying the national market is generally informal, yet it is said to account for nearly 15% of the volumes of logs produced by forest concessionaires. Faced with such a disparity of operators, the trade union representations in Congo, UNICONGO and UNIBOIS, are trying to mobilize their members and represent the entire private sector in Congo and to speak with one voice on the major issues and developments in the sector. The Association Technique Internationale des Bois Tropicaux (ATIBT) has been working alongside the trade union representatives in Congo since 2014.
The major challenges for the year 2021 for the private sector include :
Since 2018, ATIBT has opened offices to carry out consultation and information activities as close to the field as possible to the Congolese private forestry sector with the support of several international donors (FAO, EU, FFEM, PPECF).
Within this framework, FCDO is supporting ATIBT Congo for 4 months from January to April 2021 for the following activities :
Activity 1.1 : Maintaining Relationships with Unions, Companies and Inter-Union Relationships
Within the framework of this activity :
Activity 2.1 : Define an information and regulatory monitoring mechanism common to the entire sector
As part of this activity, work will be carried out between UNIBOIS, UNICONGO and ATIBT to update the contact directory of companies, partners and stakeholders of the VPA Congo. ATIBT will build on its experience and existing written monitoring mechanisms. It will work with UNIBOIS and UNICONGO in order to have a monitoring mechanism involving them and their dissemination channels.
Activity 2.2 : Implementation of informational and regulatory monitoring through the dissemination and communication of key elements over the project period.
ATIBT will therefore continue its current monitoring role while involving UNIBOIS and UNICONGO.
The targeted channels will be :
UNICONGO website and its gazette ;
Activity 3.1 : Conduct advocacy of the private sector as a whole (affiliates and non-affiliates) to contribute to the process of developing implementing texts and the normative framework of Law 33-2020.
The ATIBT will continue the ongoing activities of monitoring the forestry code and the application texts.
It will support the professional associations and companies to get involved in the ongoing studies, in particular :
Within the framework of this advocacy, ATIBT will report on the evolution of the legal framework (Law 33-2020 and its regulatory framework) to trade unions and companies and will accompany them on the modalities and actions to be taken to comply with it.
Activity 3.2 : Stimulate and support stakeholders in the implementation of decisions and on the tools developed in the framework of the LAS
Within the framework of this activity, the ATIBT will :
Tropical timber projects
ATIBT channel on YouTube