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PEFC Week 2018: a special prize for Rose Ondo (PAFC Gabon) and a new baseline for forest management

15.11.2018

This week (12-16 November 2018) was held in Geneva during PEFC 2018, where the general assembly of the PEFC took place. The ATIBT was able to become acquainted with the PEFC strategy and developments, and participate in the general assembly as a voting stakeholder.

The PEFC week is an opportunity for members to update on current projects, to train, to address critical issues. The General Assembly, composed of all PEFC members, is the highest authority and decision-making body. Voting members of key decisions, such as recognition of the national certification system, international standards, new members, statutes and budget, etc.

This year, the new PEFC Strategy 2018-2022 was presented, as well as the revision process of the Sustainable Forest Management Standard. On the occasion of this 23rd General Assembly, the new forest management standard has been adopted.

The approval of the PEFC General Assembly is the final step in the development and revision of the standards. The revision of these two reference standards began in 2016, with the creation of a working group, and ended with a consultation phase to arrive at versions with a consensus.

The main novelties of the new forest management standard are:

  • Improved structuring of the document, more precise definitions, and inclusion in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);
  • the most important change is the inclusion of Trees Outside the Forest (TOF – Trees Outside the Forest). This will make PEFC certification accessible to millions of farmers and smallholders who do not own or manage forests, but farmland or stands that are not currently certified. This new provision opens the PEFC certification to agroforestry;
  • social demands have been broadened, with greater consideration of human rights, minimum wage requirements and the promotion of gender equality. Working conditions must now be regularly reviewed and adapted as needed, and employment policies must include equal opportunities and non-discrimination. Provisions to protect the interests of indigenous peoples have been improved;
  • The new framework also provides a more precise definition of forest areas of ecological importance, supports favorable climate practices and prohibits reforestation or afforestation of non-forest areas of ecological importance.

National PEFC member certification systems will have a deadline (which will be specified when publishing the adopted version of the new standard) to adapt their own forest management standard to this new document.

On the occasion of the award ceremony, Rose Ondo, president of the association PAFC Gabon was honored by receiving a special award for its commitment in promoting forest certification in Gabon, in this year of the fifteenth anniversary of PAFC Gabon, while the first PEFC certificate in Gabon could be attributed to the company CEB-Precious Wood (further accreditation of the certification body, Bureau Veritas).

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