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Supporting Stakeholders to Develop the Macedonian Forest Certification System

Macedonia 2With the demand for sustainable forest management growing in the Balkans, the 2014 PEFC Collaboration Fund supported a project in Macedonia to develop the country's national forest certification system.

Forests are an important natural resource in the Balkans, providing income and employment opportunities for rural populations, not only through wood products, but also through non-wood products, tourism and recreation.

In recent years, there has been a growing call for the sustainable management of these forests. The general public is becoming increasingly interested in their forests and the role they play within the natural environment, and as a result, demanding their protection and responsible management.

The implementation of the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) has also played a significant role in the move towards sustainable forest management and forest certification. The EUTR prohibits the placing of illegally harvested timber on the European market. Through PEFC certification, forest owners and companies can demonstrate alignment with the new regulations, enabling their certified products to be imported into, and sold on, the EU market.

Stakeholders within the forestry sectors of these countries are now increasingly looking to develop sustainable forest management and the use of forest certification to provide assurance that their forests are managed sustainably.

PEFC Certification in Macedonia

mulesFollowing on from an initial outreach project carried out in the Southwest Balkans, the 2014 PEFC Collaboration Fund supported a follow-on project to guide Macedonia through the system development process, up to their application to PEFC for the endorsement of their national system.

A working group was formed to develop the sustainable forest management standard, along with the other documents making up a national forest certification system. Stakeholder mapping was undertaken to ensure that all relevent stakeholders were involved in the process. Once complete, the draft SFM standard went through a public consultation and pilot test to ensure it met expectations. The standard was then finalized, voted on and approved.

While the development process was underway, the National Governing Body responsible for governing and administrating the new national system joined PEFC as a national member.

The Macedonian forest certification system has since been submitted to PEFC for endorsement. It is currently undergoing an indepentent third-party assessment to ensure it is in compliance with our international benchmark standards.

While the project has finished, the remaining funds will be used to finance the independent assessment of the national system - a vital component of the PEFC endorsement process. The funds will also be used to prepare for the implementation of the system and to work with small-forest owners to ensure they are able to achieve certification of their forests.

PEFC Outreach in Southwest Balkans   

The project in Macedonia grew out of an earlier project from 2013 that saw us partnering with Connecting Natural Values and People Foundation (CNVP). This project aimed at developing awareness and capacity on sustainable forest management and PEFC certification within the forestry community of Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo, with the goal to lay the groundwork for the development of national forest certification systems.

macedonia

Working towards this objective, CNVP and PEFC reached out to a range of stakeholders through a series of meetings and workshops held within all three countries. A tool was developed to test small-scale private forest management against the PEFC Sustainable Forest Management criteria and indicators.

Key brochures, including ‘Promoting Sustainable Forest Management’, were also translated into the Macedonian and Albanian languages. The project was concluded with a workshop seminar that brought together stakeholders, along with members of the press, from around the countries.

Lead Organization:

Project Partners:

PEFC Certified

Forests area: 304 million ha
Forest owners: > 750,000
Companies (CoC): > 19,800

(as of September 2017)
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2014 Collaboration Fund

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