As part of the APV / FLEGT project of the SPIB (Union of Industrial Wood Producers) – ATIBT, supported by the delegation of the European Union (EU) in Côte d’Ivoire (which ended in December 2017 – read ATIBT article Private sector awareness of VPA / FLEGT negotiations in Côte d’Ivoire), three studies were conducted.
The first study concerns the « Transition of Forest Use Perimeters to Individual Timber Ownership ». The objective of this study was to understand how we could move from the current system of PEFs to the individual ownership of the tree as indicated by the 2014 Forest Code. This study, which was conducted by Mr. BELLO Adjadi, Consultant, addressed the following issues:
- state of Ivorian forest cover
- notions of forest logging in Ivory Coast
- relationships between actors
- reform of logging with the forest code 2014
- possibilities of logging license.
For the implementation of the law n ° 2014-427 of July 14th, 2014, the consultant proposed 2 solutions:
- maintaining PEFs as an administrative division – which would require from the holder of the logging license to negotiate with the owner of the parcel located in « its perimeter ».
- the removal of PEFs, which would lead to the granting of a logging license valid throughout the territory for loggers with freedom of transaction with all tree owners.
Each of these options has advantages and constraints and therefore requires further reflection for a definitive choice.
The second study was to comment and annotate the Forest Code and produce an « Annotated Forest Code ». Me Jean-François CHAUVEAU, lawyer at the Court, conducted this study whose objective was to facilitate the understanding of the law N ° 2014-427 of 14 July 2014 bearing the forest code. In his presentation, the consultant emphasized:
- the imprecise nature of the Forest Code as evidenced by these examples, without being exhaustive:
- the many definitions of Articles 1 and 14 that are not used in the body of the text;
- the non-definition of the forest concession, which nevertheless refers to the concept of « forest management agreement »;
- the concept of « rural community », which is not defined in the body of the text, whereas this concept refers to a territorial collectivity that no longer existed in Ivorian positive law at the date of adoption of the Forest Code.
- the contradiction between the forest code and the rural land code with regard to protected forests, particularly in that the law on rural land is the law of the soil of the protected forest. These contradictions or oppositions concern in particular the regime of property.
- the absence of clear, relevant and convincing provisions concerning the definition of the conditions, modalities and limits of the exploitation of the forest, especially and mainly private forests.
- the dominant provisions of the Forest Code tend to conserve the forest. They come today in contradiction with the definition, especially as to the form. As examples:
- with the reality that is the penetration of the forest, whatever its legal status and its destination, by the agricultural world
- but also with the provisions of the Agricultural Orientation Law No. 2015-537 of June 20, 2015 (the « LOA »).
The third and final study consisted of a « mapping of private actors in the forest-wood sector ». Vincent BÉLIGNÉ, Forest Engineer, conducted the study on the mapping of private actors in the forest-wood sector in Côte d’Ivoire. In his presentation, the consultant identified 6 groups of actors:
- owners of the wood resource;
- managers of the wood resource;
- wood producers and processors;
- wood processors;
- and consumers.
The distribution of these actors is uneven across the territory, as evidenced by the location map of the actors presented during this workshop. In concluding his presentation, the consultant mentioned the following characteristics:
- the forest landscape is very unstable because of the opposite development of resources, markedly declining and without significant efforts for their renewal, and of ever increasing needs due to demography, here and in neighboring countries;
- the situation is made even more uncertain for many private actors in the sector by the late and incomplete nature of a number of regulatory provisions relating to ownership and access to wood resources for its users, supposed to create the conditions for a better empowerment of actors upstream of the sector.
In this landscape, according to the consultant, where everyone tries to « pull out of the game » with a vision often short term, some actors nevertheless show their willingness to adapt with positive commitments for the future.