ATIBT in the European press: a press conference on the sustainable management of the Congo Basin forests


Tuesday, March 15, ATIBT organized via Zoom a press conference on tropical timber and sustainable forest management, in view of the International Day of Forests on Monday, March 21.

Caroline Duhesme moderated this press conference, which gave the floor to Benoît Jobbé-Duval, ATIBT General Manager, Françoise van de Ven, ATIBT President, as well as Edwige Eyang-Effa and Norbert Gami, spokespersons for the Fair&Precious collective. They were able to promote the socio-economic and environmental benefits of good tropical forest management.

About fifteen journalists from different countries participated in this initiative, from specialized media as well as from general media. On the French side, Bois Mag and Le Moniteur were present, as well as journalists from L'Obs, Le Monde Les Echos and Le Figaro. Journalists from the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Germany also participated.

ATIBT began this press conference by recalling the key role that forests, and more particularly tropical forests, play in mitigating climate change and regulating the climate, by acting as the "lungs" of the planet. It also highlighted the importance of the forestry sector in the social and economic landscape of the Congo Basin countries, the second largest employment sector after the state. The message is clear: we need this sector for social, environmental and economic reasons, provided that we promote and support sustainable management of forest resources, which is what our Association has been promoting since the beginning of certification in the Congo Basin.

The main objective of this conference was to give the floor to the two Fair&Precious spokespersons (a collective created in 2016 and whose 10 commitments align with the SDGs), whom we recently introduced to you. Edwige Eyang-Effa and Norbert Gami highlighted the multiple benefits of responsible forest management, both in terms of protecting flora and fauna and taking into account indigenous communities. However, the implementation of sustainable management practices has a cost, and the wood resulting from this management is currently not paid at its fair price and faces the unfair competition from illegal wood. The question then should be: how to encourage consumers, especially European ones, to consume certified tropical timber? The message must be clear, pictured: the harvesting of wood in the Congo Basin is similar to picking, with very low removal rates (1 to 2 trees per hectare every 25/30 years).

Our messages are now more and more precise: it is now a matter of bringing these messages to as many people as possible, so that certified tropical timber no longer suffers from a false reputation. The communication stakes are high to make people understand that sustainable management of tropical forests, far from the clichés on deforestation, preserves the forests.

A press release is being prepared and will be shared with you shortly.