The private forest sector at Chatham House meeting


The 29th Chatham House Global Forum on Forest Governance was held on 1st & 2nd July, In collaboration with the Global Wood Forum (GTF) to develop a session on private sector.

The private sector had the opportunity to speak at a panel discussion in a meeting that brought together NGOs, institutions like Interpol, some government officials, and representatives of the private sector.

Forest governance is vital for the sustainable management of forests and to enable the legal timber trade. This event provides an opportunity for stakeholders from across the forest sector including from government, industry and civil society to discuss the latest developments from around the world in improving forest governance.

The annual two-day event, previously known as the “Illegal Logging Update & Stakeholder Consultation Meeting”, includes sessions on progress in forest sector transparency and accountability, next steps for implementing the EU-Honduras VPA, how timber licensing is supporting forest enforcement, interactions between forest legality and deforestation initiatives and efforts to promote gender equality in forest policy processes.

The panels held during the two days of discussions were (1) Coordinating deforestation and legality initiatives, (2) Ghana’s progress towards a legal & sustainable forest sector, (3) Honduras – next steps for implementing the VPA, (4) Forest sector transparency, (5) Progress in forest sector enforcement, (6) Supporting legal compliance: successful approaches to support the private sector and finally (7) Gender equity in forest and land-use policy-making.

The session on private sector was more an ‘approach to private sector’ rather than a description of organisational activities in detail.

This panel was made up of Andrew Escott (GTF), Ruth Nogueron (WRI), Norma Rodríguez (Federación Hondureña de Cooperativas Agroforestales (FEHCAFOR)) & Benoit Jobbé-Duval (ATIBT). The moderator was David Hopkins, from UK Timber Trade Federation.

This session presented the perspectives of the private sector regarding the opportunities and challenges they face to achieve compliance with the law and / or comply with due diligence requirements, and what their needs are for the creation of capacities.

An exchange between Africa & Latin America was also considered.

Benoit Jobbé-Duval presented the efforts of certified forestry companies in the Congo Basin and the chalenges they face.

Different main lines were considered in ATIBT presentation:

  • FLEGT exchange and certification on lessons learned and challenges/opportunities for the private sector;
  • Importance of certification for the Congo basin and possibilities to support its development;
  • Decrease in the profitability of natural forest exploitation and importance to find new sources of funding by promoting environmental services;
  • The rise of Asian operators in the forest industry and the importance of a dialog with Chinese associations and companies;
  • The unfair competition of the informal sector face to the legal sector.

You can find the full agenda of the conference here. The presentations made will be shared in the coming weeks by the organizers.