Gabon takes next step towards PEFC-certified forests
18 November 2015 News
Certification of forest area in Gabon in compliance with PEFC requirements is now one step closer. This follows the completion of the first pre-audit since the country achieved PEFC-endorsement of its national forest certification system.
Taking place in the four Gabonese concessions of Rougier, the pre-audit looked to compare the company’s current forest management practices with the PAFC Gabon forest management standard. By using a gap analysis, the company can now verify whether it meets all the required indicators as well as identify any areas that do not conform to the standard.
“We were among the first supporters of PAFC Gabon, and we welcomed the idea to be the first to carry out a pre-audit in the country,” said Paul-Emmanuel Huet from Rougier. “We now plan to use these findings to ensure we meet all the requirements of the Gabonese standard, and hopefully we can move towards our first audit in a short term period.”
The pre-audit was carried out thanks to the financial support of the Program for the Promotion of Certified Forest Operations (PPECF). In addition to funding the pre-audit, PPECF has also supported the development of PEFC in several other countries of the Congo Basin, including Cameroon and the Republic of Congo.
“This pre-audit is the result of many years of hard work by a whole range of stakeholders,” said Remi Sournia, Projects and Development Officer at PEFC International. “We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all our partners who have provided their time as well as technical and financial support throughout this process which we hope will eventually lead to PAFC-certified forests in Gabon.”
PAFC Gabon was our first endorsed system in Africa, after it successfully achieved PEFC endorsement of its national system in 2009. The system was re-endorsed five years later in 2014, thanks to the support of ECOFORAF, an initiative funded by the French Fund for the Global Environment (FFEM) and managed by our International Stakeholder member ATIBT.
Rougier started operations in Gabon in 1952 and through its Gabonese subsidiaries the group covers some 880,000 hectares of forest. In accordance with its voluntary policy of responsible forest management, the group implements forest management plans on all its concessions. These plans meet requirements at three levels: preservation of the ecosystem and the biodiversity, social progress for workers and their families and the respect of local populations and their traditional forest practices.