Responsible Forest Management in Congo Basin has Bright Future Following Latest Certification Milestone
WWF’s Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN), together with it’s Central African participants, contributed to this milestone through the certification of over two million ha of forests managed by SEFAC, Transformation Reef Cameroon, PALLISCO and WIJMA in Cameroon and Industrie Forestière d’Ouesso (IFO) in the Republic of Congo, the latter of which was responsible for contributing 1.16 million ha of this newly certified land.
Richard McLellan, Head of GFTN, affirmed this recent advancement for responsible forestry;
“While we recognize that there is still much to be done to achieve sustainable forest management in the Congo’s globally significant forests, we applaud IFO’s efforts to develop a responsible forest management worthy of the FSC seal.”
“We will continue to support IFO to ensure that their forest management practices are of highest standard in all places.”
Presently, IFO’s certified forest concession is recognized as the largest area awarded FSC certification in the continent.
“This is a major milestone in our efforts to progressively increase our production and trade of FSC-certified products,” says Olof von Gagern, Danzer Group CEO for Africa and Veneer Europe, of which IFO is a subsidiary. “It boosts our motivation to increase our efforts towards the certification of our concessions in the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
(C) Michel Gunther / WWF-CANON
Rapid progress in Central Africa
Coupled with this announcement, total FSC certification has now been achieved for forestry operations on 4.06 million hectares in the Congo Basin since December 2005.
This represents about a tenth of forests allocated for logging.
This significant milestone reached by GFTN-Central Africa Participants, indicates a clear sign of the African forestry industry’s desire to implement strategies to protect Congo Basin forests that are vital to global climate regulation, biodiversity and the rights and welfare of indigenous peoples,” concludes McLellan.
The progress demonstrated by GFTN-Central Africa Participants marks a significant step towards WWF’s Green Heart of Africa Network Initiative goal of achieving forest certification for 7 million ha by 2012, with another 5 million ha progressing towards credible certification.
“The certification of IFO is another success for FSC in the Congo Basin. This is an important focal area for us and we are glad to see the amount of continuous progress,” said Andre de Freitas, FSC Executive Director.
“To reach FSC’s standards requires demanding changes in forestry practices and we congratulate IFO for their achievement.”
The achievements and momentum gained from recent achievements in responsible forest management in the Congo Basin are influencing both policy and business practices, and the Republic of Congo recently joined the a voluntary partnership agreement with the EU to ensure the legality of its timber exports.