By Morten Brodde
FSC is actively engaged with national and local governments to help them meet their sustainability commitments. That said, there is a need to do more to increase the incorporation of FSC solutions into public forest and procurement policies and ensure that governments support responsible forest management. This was the topic of Thursday’s side meeting “Increasing FSC’s Relevance for Governments.”
Kim Carstensen, Director General, FSC International, explained what is at stake:
“Markets cannot function without governments. We need to engage with governments. They not only own forests, but they also set the rules for forests”.
Previously, engagement with governments has mostly been done on the national level by FSC network partners, who have engaged with governments on public procurement, forest regulations, forest certification and other issues. According to Kim Carstensen this engagement will now be broadened.
“Internationally we have not been very deliberate about this. And this is what I think is changing now. We want to be deliberate about working with governments at the global and regional level.”
FSC launches government toolkit
FSC and government authorities can engage with each other in diverse areas like regulatory policy, public procurement, fiscal incentives, and conservation. To increase its relevance FSC is now launching a government toolkit.
“The toolkit essentially showcases FSC’s value proposition for governments. The audience for the toolkit is network partners and members, not governments themselves, and it provides tactics, tools, resources, and information to successfully engage with governments," explained Ava Spoden, Global Advocacy and Engagement Officer in FSC International.
This toolkit assesses the entry points available when engaging with governments, provides insights regarding FSC’s value proposition for governments, analyses key enabling conditions, and aids in deciding prioritization areas based on the enabling conditions.
Fiscal incentives to the forestry sector in Mexico
Emilio Cruz Sánchez from Reforestamos Mexico shared some of the work his organization is doing to increase the incentive for certified forest products and among others help small companies. “The smaller workshops seem to be forgotten”, mentioned Emilio.
Recently, Reforestamos Mexico has put forward a proposal to the government that suggests that profits from the sale of certified products are not counted for income tax purposes and a 0% VAT rate for CoC certified products.
What is the potential in Fiji and Eastern Africa?
Deborah Sue, Fiji Ministry of Forestry, explained the role that FSC certification plays in Fiji. The government is using the FSC Forest Management and Chain-of-Custody system to develop Fiji’s forest-based bioeconomy.
“Part of what FSC could offer us is good governance. That is for example the forest certification standard, and that means all the principles and criteria, indicators, and verifiers. And a main driver right now is also better market access”, explained Deborah Sue.
Annah Agasha, Eastern Africa Subregional Coordinator, FSC International, shared experiences of the work FSC is doing with governments in Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique.
“At the moment we have half a million certified hectares, and what is interesting is that the target was half a million by 2026, but already by September we hit our target”, said Annah.
Annah highlighted that the one of the drivers for the increased certified area is the involvement of the government in the certification process. She also mentioned that successful engagement with government involves technical training, continuous dialogue, and government commitment.
The last speaker of the side meeting was Nikki Enersen, Foreign Service Officer at USAID. In partnership with FSC USAID is funding The Indigenous Peoples Alliance for Rights and Development (IPARD). Nikki Enersen emphasized that FSC’s contribution to upholding Indigenous Peoples’ rights through different means has been decisive to their support of IPARD.
Want to know more?
More information about FSC’s relevance for governments and public procurement can be found at www.fsc.org/en/governments