FSC global meeting: True value of forests

Wednesday 18 Oct 2017

Discussions on the future of global responsible forestry under way at FSC General Assembly are underway among the 800 delegates from more than 80 countries.

A broad range of vital topics that will have a profound impact on the future of responsible forestry was discussed by delegates attending the second day of the triennial global General Assembly of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the world's leading forest certification organisation.

Approximately 800 delegates from more than 80 countries are at the meeting which will shape the way FSC enhances responsible forestry practices worldwide to promote sustainability and conservation, while permitting forests to continue to supply the vital products the world depends on for many purposes.

"We are having very productive and stimulating discussions on the crucial issues that we face as we set the course for FSC for the coming three years," said Kim Carstensen, Director General of FSC. "I am very confident we will end our Vancouver General Assembly with a constructive way forward on the challenges we face in ensuring the world's forests are managed responsibly and at the same time meet multiple goals and needs."

The General Assembly's three-day High Level Forum sessions began with a discussion on "The true value of forests," with three expert speakers outlining the full contribution of forests to society. Among these Peter Lantin, President of the Haida Nation, who gave a powerful speech outlining the importance that responsible forestry has for his community. Dr. Sadanandan Nambiar, Honourary Fellow of the Forest Ecosystem Science Group, outlined the importance of forestry to develop rural communities and empower women. Finally, Per-Olof Sjoo, President of the Global Union Federation of Building and Woodworker International highlighted the benefits of industrial timber building.

New approaches for smallholders - FSC is not just about large forest holders. One of the meetings gave an update on new approaches with holders of small forests in all regions of the world to learn about issues they care about and capture first-hand information about what's missing, what they'd like to be able to do, and why they're unable to do those things with existing standards and services. The most current findings, latest developments and the FSC action plan on smallholder certification were shared with delegates.

FSC also presented to delegates new tools it has developed to help answer the challenge of enhancing responsible forest practices on a global scale. These new tools aim to increase the confidence of governments, investors, buyers and businesses in ecosystem services markets, and can be used to demonstrate the impact that investments have on preserving ecosystem services. They will offer non-certified forest owners and managers an additional incentive to become FSC- certified rather than pursue the short-term economic benefits of forest degradation, as well as an added economic support for those already certified.

The General Assembly continues with further informational sessions October 10 and 11 before moving on to members' assembly meetings October 12 and 13, at which a variety of different resolutions will be debated and voted on. The FSC and GA structure maintains the balance of voting power among different interests, ensuring effective, consensus-based solutions for forest management and the trade of forest products.

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