PEFC’s COP23 contribution focused on practical approaches to support smallholders

“Building viable models of group certification is critical for expanding sustainable forest management and forest certification, especially in the developing world,” said Sarah Price, Head of Projects and Development at PEFC International.

“Forests are key to mitigating climate change and possess immense potential for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

“With 30% of the world’s forest area managed locally by families, communities and indigenous peoples, we need to encourage and support local people to manage their forests sustainably,” Sarah continued.

The field dialogue
Towards this goal, PEFC and Finnish Agri-Agency for Food and Forest Development (FFD) recently convened a field dialogue on group certification in Iisalmi, Finland.

The event brought together 25 representatives from 10 countries, to learn about Finland’s long history of small private forest owners, well-established associations, sustainable forest management practices and PEFC certification through group certification.

IMG 0501The event enabled the group of experts to share experience between countries and work collaboratively to advance the development of innovative models for group certification that are appropriate to local realities and aligned with PEFC’s international requirements.

“Finland provides a great backdrop for our discussions on expanding PEFC certification to smallholders worldwide,” said Richard Laity, PEFC Southeast Asia Projects and Development Officer.

“We need to work to ensure certification is affordable and accessible to smallholders. This is especially true in the developing world, where growing trees can contribute significantly to increasing incomes while also tackling climate change.”

PEFC group certification
Group certification allows smallholders to work together to implement forest management certification, enabling them to spread the costs, share the administration and organizational procedures, and provide economies of scale. This is why PEFC is the system of choice for small- and family forest owners around the world.

IMG 0480“Finland has nearly twenty years’ experience in implementing PEFC certification,” said Rauno Rauno Karppinen, Managing Director of the Forest Management Association Savotta and local host for the field dialogue.

“We’ve integrated certification into the daily business of our forest owner association, and have well-developed, simple approaches to support forest owners to implement sustainable forest management.  It doesn’t need to be complicated.”

With generous funding from Agricord, PEFC International, Forest Management Association Savotta, FFD and MTK, the results of this practical exchange will travel home with participants and support sustainable forestry for smallholders in Cambodia, Ghana, Kenya, Myanmar, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand and Vietnam.
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