Supporting the Development of Forest Certification in Southeast Asia
As the need for sustainable management of Southeast Asia’s forests increases, we are working with a wide range of partners to help increase the uptake of forest certification in the region.
From supporting the development of national systems, to ensuring certification is accessible to the many small- and community forest owners, our work in this region is set to expand significantly in the coming years.
Southeast Asia is home to the world’s third largest area of tropical rainforest, containing some of the richest and most valuable resources and habitats on earth. As well as an important source for timber production and rural employment for the region, these forests also have an important effect on watershed protection, biodiversity and the global carbon balance.
Despite the importance of the region’s forests, the uptake of forest certification in Southeast Asia has remained low - only 3.5% of forests are currently covered by certification. In order to scale up the level of forest certification in the region, there is a need for new approaches, innovation and investment to support sustainable forest management and make certification accessible and effective for forest owners.
PEFC in Southeast Asia
We use a multi-faceted approach to support the diverse range of stakeholders interested in advancing forest certification in the region. In addition to supporting the development of national forest certification systems in several countries, we are working with a variety of partners to pilot test new approaches to group certification for smallholders, support value chain development and provide training to build the required capacity for forest certification to succeed.
National System Development
From the first step all the way through to submission to PEFC for endorsement, we are supporting stakeholders in a number of countries in the development of their own national forest certification systems.
In Thailand, the 2016 PEFC Collaboration Fund is supporting the country's stakeholders as they develop a certification system that responds to the needs of the country's smallholders, many of which grow trees outside forests, such as rubberwood. Thailand has taken an important step towards the submission of their system thanks to the Federation of Thai Industries (F.T.I.) becoming a PEFC national member in late 2016.
With a committed government and engaged local stakeholders, Viet Nam is also well on the road to developing its own national forest certification system in line with PEFC international requirements
Looking further into the future, the 2016 PEFC Collaboration Fund is providing support to Filipino stakeholders as they start on the system development process. In addition, we are also providing support to Laos and Myanmar.
With PEFC’s vast experience in providing cost-effective certification solutions for small forest owners, we are compelled to transfer this expertise to Southeast Asia where robust models for affordable group certification are drastically needed.
Building on our Smallholder Group Certification project where we’ve had four pilot projects in Malaysia, Nepal, Thailand and Viet Nam, we continue to innovate and develop solutions to promote rural livelihoods, improve access to markets and increase the uptake of forest certification. To further expand our scope, our 2015 Collaboration Fund is supporting the development of community forestry certification in Indonesia.
Supply Chain Development
In order to provide an additional incentive to the countries embarking on the system development process, another important aspect of our work in this region is to support the development of sustainable supply chains. In particular, we are working with a range of partners to increase the trade of sustainably-produced forest products within domestic, regional and international markets.
Responding to the growing demand for PEFC Chain of Custody certification in Viet Nam, we have opened a new PEFC Support Desk at the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association (HAWA) office in Ho Chi Minh City.
This office will act as a center point for providing technical support to the furniture processing hotspot of Ho Chi Minh City, and other adjacent provinces.