India launches its national forest certification system!
31 January 2018 PEFC system news
Regional workshops, extensive stakeholder engagement in the field and a countrywide public consultation... just some of the work undertaken by the multi-stakeholder group responsible for developing the national forest certification system of India.
“Given the size of India and the diversity of its forests, the development of a national system is no small task,” said Sarah Price, Head of Projects and Development at PEFC International, following the conference in New Delhi to launch the finalized system.
“I am delighted to be here to witness the launch of India’s national forest certification system and to be alongside NCCF and many of the stakeholders involved in the development process, including government ministries, NGOs, forest-based industries, farmers groups, and many more.”
“India has practiced scientific management of forests since 1864, built upon the principles of sustainability,” said Shri Siddhanta Das, Director General of Forests and Special Secretary, Government of India, as he spoke at the conference.
“Initially, forest management was predominantly focused on timber extraction, but now there is paradigm shift to achieve sustainable ecosystems as well as the sustained availability of ecosystem services and livelihoods of tribal people, and other forest dependent communities,” continued Mr. Das.
“It has been remarkable to see the steady, systematic progress that NCCF and stakeholders have made over the past three years,” said Ms. Price.
“Now with the national system complete, we very much look forward to receiving it so we can get started on the assessment process and eventual PEFC endorsement of their system.”
The Network for Certification and Conservation of Forests (NCCF), our national member in India, was responsible for leading the monumental task of developing the Indian national system. Since joining the PEFC alliance in 2015, they have been working with stakeholders from around the country to develop the national sustainable forest management standard.
“NCCF is well placed to take stock of our present knowledge and identify future work for sustaining our forests, preserving biodiversity and preventing desertification,” said Mr. Vijai Sharma, Chairman of NCCF, as he spoke at the conference.
Looking beyond the forest
“To achieve our commitments for mitigation and adaptation to climate change, we have to take forestry beyond forests, through agroforestry, urban plantations, plantations by corporations, companies, communities and voluntary organizations,” continued Mr. Sharma.
“NCCF is simultaneously developing certification standards for the Trees outside Forests (ToF), Protected Areas and Wetlands (PAWs) and Non-Wood Forest Products (NWFPs),” added Mr. Sachin Raj Jain, Convener and Treasurer of NCCF.
“We are also planning to initiate the process for development of other sustainable standards for sustainable ecotourism and sustainable mining.”
The next steps
Now that the national forest certification system has been finalized, and their national sustainable forest management standard approved, the next step is submission to PEFC for endorsement.
Once submitted, it will go through a rigorous assessment to confirm it was developed in line with our requirements. This includes an assessment done by an independent PEFC Registered Assessor and a global public consultation. After passing this the assessment process, the PEFC General Assembly will vote on its endorsement.