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Republic of the Congo joins PEFC as a national member

Switzerland-headed Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), an international non-profit, non-governmental umbrella organization dedicated to promoting Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) through independent third-party certification, has announced that the Republic of the Congo has joined PEFC as a national member.

The world’s second largest rainforest can be found in the Congo Basin region of Central Africa; this not only makes up 18 percent of the planet’s remaining tropical rainforest cover but is also home to a unique biodiversity capital, with nearly half the species known on Earth (photo courtesy PEFC).

According to a statement, PEFC has been engaged in a number of initiatives to promote uptake of forest certification in Africa, with a particular focus on Central Africa since 2011.

The forests in the Congo Basin are home to more than 10 000 species. They provide food, water and shelter to more than 75 million people, and are of significant economic importance. We have been working in the Congo Basin for several years, and the addition of the Republic of Congo marks an important move forward for the development of certification in the basin, said Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International.

Working under the common name PAFC – Pan-African Forest Certification, there are now three PEFC members in the region: PAFC Cameroon, PAFC Congo and PAFC Gabon.

With PAFC-Congo becoming a member of PEFC and their work on developing a national forest certification system, we are taking a huge step towards safeguarding the benefits the forests in the region provide. We are thrilled to welcome PAFC-Congo into the PEFC alliance, Gunneberg said.

PEFC the right choice

There have been strong evolutions in the way forests are managed in the Republic of the Congo, but certification is struggling to develop and become widespread. PAFC is set to help promote sustainable forest management, making it more accessible and inclusive, thanks to its development respecting the local context. With its careful balance of the environmental, social and economic benefits forests provide to the local forest owners and communities as well as society at large, we are convinced that PEFC certification is the right choice for our country, explained Brice Séverin Pongui, Chairman of PAFC-Congo.

Certification in the Republic of the Congo moves closer

We are currently strengthening the capacity of PAFC Congo, mapping all respective stakeholders and developing and validating our national sustainable forest management standard. This will all be done through a transparent and inclusive process, involving everyone interested, through departmental and national workshops. We will also study and analyze the international PEFC requirements, as well as the PAFC standards in Gabon and Cameroon, in order to best develop our national certification system, said Brice Séverin Pongui.

Bulgaria and South Africa also join

PAFC-Congo is also joined by the Council for Sustainable Forest Management and Certification in Bulgaria and the South African Forestry Assurance Scheme (SAFAS) as the latest members of the PEFC alliance. This means there are now 49 PEFC national members around the world.

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