The Pan African Forest Certification (PAFC) Congo Basin regional system has been endorsed by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). According to PEFC, this is “the world’s first PEFC endorsed regional forest certification system”.
The PAFC Congo Basin comprises PEFC-member countries Cameroon, Congo, and Gabon, as their shared language and similar forestry conditions enable them to share one system. Through this system, they can maximise their impact and reach, share resources and knowledge, and reduce the costs in developing and running a forest certification system.
“Being part of a regional scheme is a tremendous opportunity for PAFC Cameroon. We are supported by the other PAFC members and help them back in return, leading to more efficiency in our actions,” said Reine Edwige Anjembe, president of PAFC Cameroon.
“Having one system covering three countries means more significant market access to operate. Furthermore, the training process is more efficient and better value for certification bodies, as auditors only need to be trained on one standard,” said Brice Severin Pongui, president of PAFC Congo.
“In terms of accreditation, having one system simplifies the process, as only one accreditation programme needs to be opened for the sub-region.”
Following the endorsement on the regional system, the three PAFC organisations will work on its implementation and support companies in their certification process.
An auditor training will be organised in the first half of 2022, along with the promotion of the PAFC Congo Basin system to a broader audience through company training and an open house day.
Another key element of the coming months will be to develop national interpretation guidelines and a guide regarding carbon stock mapping and greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions. These activities will help companies better understand the sustainable forest management standard and its requirements.
The system development was led by the International Tropical Timber Technical Association (ATIBT), in collaboration with PAFC Cameroon, PAFC Congo, PAFC Gabon and Olam, another PEFC international stakeholder member. The project is funded by KfW, the German Development Bank, and co-funded by IDH and PEFC.