ATIBT Congo officially launched its FLEGT activities


ATIBT officially launched the activities of its FLEGT, REDD+ and certification project on September the 19th 2018, during a national workshop that was organised at the conference hall of the Ministry of Forest Economy in Brazzaville.

The workshop had the following objectives:

  • To present the objectives and activities of ATIBT Congo.
  • To obtain the opinions, priorities and training needs of project partners and stakeholders in order to improve private sector participation to the VPA/FLEGT process.

About 50 people participated to the workshop, mainly representing forestry companies, government officials, as well as civil society. The first presentation after the official opening ceremony treated the congolese VPA process and was presented by Mr. Ngassembo.

The presentation was followed by explications about the progress in developing a legality verification system (LVS) presented by Mr. Kondi, who represented the coordinator the of the Forest Legality and Traceability Department, Mr. Ossebi. Congo is currently finalising the first version of the LVS and wishes to start using its digital verification and traceability system (SIVL) soon. This system will automatically deliver FLEGT licenses based on government controls of the companies, and FLEGT authorisations to export wood loads based on verified wood production and traceability information.

During the next session the ATIBT project’s objectives and foreseen activities in Congo were presented. The session started with explanations by Mr. Ngassaki, the project coordinator of the ATIBT FAO project, on how to organise and enforce private sector participation in the Congolese VPA process, and specifically during the processes of editing and revising of regulations and LVS documents. Through this project all companies (SME’s and larger industrial companies, based on Congolese or either foreign capital) will be better informed and consulted with help of experts in the domain of the proposed documents. The project is financed through the FAO-EU FLEGT Program.

Afterwards Mr. Tiotsop, head of the ATIBT Congo team and FLEGT-Certification referent, will both facilitate the participation of the forestry private sector federations to the VPA/FLEGT process, and collaborate with the Program for Promotion of Certified Forest Exploitation (PPECF-COMIFAC) to increase the surfaces of forests certified for legal and sustainable management.

He also provides support to the execution of the ATIBT FAO project, and to the mini projects of the federations UNIBOIS et UNICONGO to prepare SIVL usage by companies. This last activity is implemented in collaboration with the consultancy company FRMi. The activities are financed by the EU, AFD/DFID, FFEM, and KfW.

To introduce the last session in working groups, Mr. Ngoma, secretary general of UNIBOIS, shared the experiences of his association and confirmed their interest to work together with ATIBT.

The Ministers’ representative, Forest councillor Mr. Moukissi, appreciates ATIBT’s initiative and requested the private sector to participate more actively in the VPA process.

In conclusion to the discussions in working groups, facilitated by Professor Koubouanou, three main recommendations were formulated:

  • That private sector and civil society representatives should participate more actively to the monthly VPA Joint Working Group meetings.
  • That ATIBT should work in close collaboration with the government to facilitate private sector participation to the review of the VPA legality grids.
  • That a delay should be defined during which SME’s will have to develop forest management plans for their small logging permits. This delay should start from the date that the management plan directives are officially validated and prevent SME’s from being excluded to obtain a FLEGT certificate.

NB: The content of this document is the sole responsibility of the author and can in no way be considered as reflecting the opinion of FAO, EU, ASDI or DFID