Signature of a Memorandum of Understanding between Republic of Congo, PEFC and ATIBT relating to the support for the implementation of PanAfrican Forest Certification Congo (PAFC Congo)
Faced with the international market, which increasingly requires legal timber from sustainably managed sources, the Republic of Congo has encouraged forest companies to move towards « legality » or « sustainable management » certifications. Currently, in the Congo, approximately 2,500,000 hectares of forest are certified according to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standard and 583,000 ha are VLC certified, representing nearly 50% of the certified forests in the Congo Basin.
As part of the implementation of the recommendation on the promotion of dual certification, formulated at the end of the International Forum on the Sustainable Development of the Timber Industry in the Congo Basin, held on 21 and 22 October 2013 in Brazzaville, the Ministry of Forest Economy of the Republic of Congo decided to set up a national system of forest certification. The Ministry of Forest Economy and PEFC agreed that the future national certification system would be endorsed by this certification body.
The specific areas of collaboration and activities to be developed were identified in a project document entitled « Development of a National Certification Scheme in the Congo », which was signed in Helsinki on 15 November, on the occasion of the PEFC General Assembly. Her Excellency Mrs. Rosalie MATONDO, Minister of Forest Economy of the Republic of Congo, Mr. Benjamin GUNNEBERG, Director of PEFC, and Mr. Benoit Jobbé-Duval, Director General of ATIBT, co-signed this Memorandum of Understanding.
The national standard could form the basis for a Congo Basin regional standard.
The validation of this regional standard could take place in 2019 by the various PEFC bodies with endorsement of the PAFC Congo Basin by PEFC International. The first certifications would thus be possible at the beginning of 2020.
Various funds are being discussed to finalize the process of setting up this certification system, in particular with the « Program for the Promotion of Certified Forest Exploitation » (PPECF) and the Investment Climate and Forest/timber Industry Governance Support Project « Climate Support Project » (PACIGOF).