Forests are at the heart of society’s action to combat climate change and its impacts. As carbon sinks, trees capture and store carbon, removing significant volumes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Forest products meanwhile, provide us with a carbon-neutral alternative to our reliance on fossil fuels. But to ensure that forests reach their full potential as a climate change solution, they must be managed sustainably. This is where PEFC certification comes in.
Sustainability and legality initiatives such as PEFC forest certification and FLEGT VPA are increasingly running parallel in many Asian tropical countries. However, there is still limited coordination between these initiatives within the same country as well as among nation states.
Ensuring meaningful coordination and synergies between these initiatives was amongst the key messages promoted at Asia-Pacific Forestry Week 2019 (APFW). The topic was delivered through the PEFC International APFW joint-event ‘Development of synergies between PEFC and other initiatives such as FLEGT, utilizing experience in ASEAN’.
Participants recognized that FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) and voluntary forest certification (PEFC) have different development backgrounds, political scopes, operational procedures, and address certain aspects of the ultimate goal of sustainable forest management.
One main difference is their management goal. PEFC certification promotes sustainability of forest management, balancing societal, environmental, and economic benefits and forestry law compliance of forestry production; while FLEGT VPA focuses on the timber legality and legal enforcement. PEFC’s management scope is broader than FLEGT VPA’s.
Moreover, FLEGT VPA, a legally binding bilateral trade agreement between timber-producing countries and the EU, is compulsory and applies nation-wide. By contrast, PEFC certification is a voluntary, market-based forest instrument, working at the forestry unit or supply chain level. Even though PEFC certification could become regulatory depending on each nation’s strategy.
more at: https://pefc.org/news/flegt-vpa-and-pefc-certification-synergies-the-future-looks-bright-in-vietnam