The second think tank of the ATIBT was held from 8 to 10 January 2019, in Nogent sur Marne, and gathered about 70 people. A first edition was held in May 2018. The objective of the two meetings was to reflect with the main actors in the sector to stabilize and then increase forest certification in Central Africa.
Indeed, forest certification has greatly contributed to improve the practices of tropical loggers, but there is a slowdown or even a decline due to the change of hands of several concessions in the Congo Basin. This transfer finds explanations in several internal and external causes, including an under-valuation of certified timber.
Also, the ATIBT, its members, partners and donors reflect on the concession model, in a strategic prospective for the maintenance of forest cover, focusing on the private sector and seeking to better value the services provided by forestry companies. To value the numerous environmental services by certified businesses could be a part of the solution. This could be the market carbon, the eco-tourism, or ecosystem services, or again thoses related to education. But these markets remain to be explored : Do the exist? Are they remunerative?
The topics addressed by the Think Tank focused on the tropical timber image, its new markets, coaching in forest certification, the species to be promoted, the new marketing rules, the new incentive tax rules, documentary dematerialization and the role and responsibilities of forest concessionaires in an Africa that will double its population.
The dialogue with Asian actors, based in Africa or importers in Asia, was also at the center of the discussions, with the participation of representatives of Chinese professional associations.
Thematic working groups have been created, with the most recognized actors of the profession, so that they can speak with one voice and can implement an action plan to reverse the current trend in sustainable management in the Congo Basin.
This meeting benefited from the facilitation of Claude Garcia, a CIRAD-ETH researcher. A report will be produced in the coming days with a roadmap for the various working groups formed.The ATIBT warmly thanks all the participants and contributors who made this meeting possible.