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New study highlights strength of PAFC Gabon

Dec 20 2018

Becoming the world leader in certified tropical wood: This is the declared goal of Gabon.

To reach the goal, the Gabonese government recently stated that all forest concessions must become certified.

During a recent Certification Forum, organized to elaborate concrete steps towards this goal, stakeholders, recommended to the government that by 2022, all forest concessions should be able to prove the legality and move towards certification, such as PAFC Gabon (our PEFC-endorsed member) by 2024.

WWF recently published a study that assesses in how far the PAFC Gabonese-specific forest certification system is aligned with the global objectives of WWF. The study shows that PAFC is highly compatible with the expectations of WWF, meeting more than two thirds of the WWF requirements for standard strength.

“Gabon is in the strong position to benefit from its very own national forest certification system, developed entirely by local stakeholders, something that is currently rare on the African continent,” said Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International.

“PAFC Gabon is the first African system to have been independently confirmed as being in full compliance with PEFC’s globally recognized Sustainability Benchmark requirements, and it is reassuring to note that WWF study shows that the forest management requirements contained in the Gabonese system meet more than two-thirds of the requirements that WWF as a single stakeholder has set as its requirements for the world.”

WWF also assessed the regional FSC Congo Basin standard, finding it to be slightly more aligned with WWF’s requirements.

“This is to be expected given WWF’s strong involvement in, and preference for FSC. WWF is not only the founder of FSC at the global level, but has also been the driver behind FSC developments (including the standard) in the Congo Basin and invests substantial amounts of funding to promote FSC in Africa and elsewhere,” explained Mr. Gunneberg.

“It should be noted that however important the views of some stakeholders are, PEFC’s strives to achieve consensus amongst all stakeholder groups, rather than trying to satisfy all the current expectations of one at the expense of other stakeholders. We endorse systems that are developed by local stakeholders, that are adapted to local framework conditions at country level, and that reflect the consensus of the views of all participating stakeholders and which meet our internationally recognised benchmark for standards.”

PEFC Certified

Forests area: 307 million ha
Forest owners: > 750,000
Companies (CoC): > 20,000

(as of September 2018)
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