Philippines looking to improve forestry industry’s standards with forest certification

Recently, at the policy forum on sustainable forest management through forest certification, wood producers and forestry stakeholders from the Philippines were invited by the Philippines’ Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to actively participate in consultations and help formulate and draft a national forest certification system.

The Philippine Wood Producers Association (PWPA) was also invited to participate to help further improve the forestry industry’s standards and competitvaeness through certification and an industry road map.

Marlo Mendoza, OIC, Undersecretary for Policy and Planning of the DENR said that forest certification is one of the top priorities of the DENR. He added that with the certification system, it will place emphasis on policy predictability, social justice and ecosystem integrity.

He recommended that important considerations such as legality of source, chain of custody, and different criteria for controlled wood are needed to craft the certification system. Hence, requesting for PWPA, non-governmental organizations, civil society and other stakeholders to support the program due to the need for transition policies and the promotion of entrepreneurship to ensure sustainability of the industry.

Also, consultants for the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Gualberto Tortoza and Diosdado Paler, met up with the officials from PWPA to address the association’s role in the renewed Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) program of the Philippines.

The discussion also highlighted the need for private-sector involvement in different sectoral strategies due to the EU’s recent FLEGT. In addition, it also helps to achieve legality and sustainability in forest production. The discussion also proposed for the country’s FLEGT programme to develop a strategy that engages the private sector, particularly the local small and medium forest enterprises.

The new engagement programme can be done in three phases, Tortoza said. Situational analysis as the first phase, followed by a two-day multi-stakeholder dialogue or workshop, and concluding with a country road map that will identify priority areas for support.

The PWPA has also reiterated its support and Executive Director of PWPA Maila Vasquez acknowledged that much efforts are being done to help the forestry industry, but would be more consolidated if actions are aligned while issues and concerns are tackled collectively.

“This will also ensure that overlaps and conflicts will be minimized, if not totally avoided,” she said.

Source: Business Mirror