The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. (SFI) launched the process to revise and update the SFI standard requirements at the SFI Annual Conference today. A conference workshop marked the official start of the revision process with over 200 members of the SFI community taking part. “The SFI Standards are developed through an open and inclusive process involving the many different people and groups who know and care about our forests including forest sector representatives, conservation groups, academics, researchers, brand owners, resource professionals, landowners, educators, local communities, Indigenous Peoples, and governments,” said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc. The process includes 10 public standards development workshops across the U.S. and Canada including a dedicated workshop for Indigenous Peoples and a facilitated webinar workshop to accommodate those stakeholders that cannot make any of the regional workshops.
Local people from forest communities in Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam and came together in Bangkok recently to discuss forest issues that are priorities for them and to prepare for the upcoming XIV World Forestry Congress. The Congress, which is the largest and most significant gathering of the world’s forestry sector, takes place in Durban, South Africa this September.
“As one of the few observers here, and being responsible for supporting smallholder certification, it was great to hear about the issues and priorities for Asian communities,” reported Richard Laity, PEFC South East Asia, Projects and Development Officer. “We want to ensure that certification is inclusive by working closely with these forest communities, while we develop national forest certification systems.”
“As PEFC history demonstrates, it has proven to work for smallholders, and as we expand into countries in Asia we want to make sure it continues to be a robust but cost-effective, appropriate and practical tool,” Mr. Laity concluded.
At the meeting, participants identified four priority areas, from local perspectives, that forest decision-makers must invest in for forests to be managed sustainably:
Participatory processes for policy and enabling regulatory framework development
Formalizing tenure rights and the establishment of community forests
Funds and resources for community forest implementation, and livelihoods/enterprise development
Capacity development for leadership empowerment, information access, network advocacy
Under the four areas, solutions and best practices were identified, along with specific actions and investments needed to scale these up – to be shared and influence forest decision-makers on the global level at the World Forestry Congress.