In Uganda, the 2023 FSC® Africa members meeting draws to a close
A total of 112 participants attended the event, including FSC members from the Economic, Social, and Environmental Chambers, government representatives, journalists, and high-level experts on natural resource governance from across Africa.
Mr Sam Mwandha, Director of Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) – Uganda’s government agency responsible for wildlife management and conservation – opened the meeting on 6 September 2023. In 2022, UWA obtained FSC certification for the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP), the Rwenzori Mountains National Park (RMNP) and the Kibale National Park (KNP).
The first day of the meeting provided an overview of FSC programmes in the region and discussed the importance of FSC Africa members as ambassadors for responsible forest management in their respective countries. On 7 September the meeting concluded with discussions focusing on issues that affect the responsible management of forests in Africa.
Below are some of the key highlights from this year’s meeting.
FSC Africa was presented with highlights from its three subregions during the meeting. In introducing the highlights session, Dr Peter Alele, Regional Director for Africa, stated: “FSC aims to increase forests managed under FSC in Africa from 10.7 million hectares in 2023 to 15 million hectares by 2026.”
Forests managed under FSC in Africa increased by 410,100 ha in 2022. For Zimbabwe, the area was 20,000 hectares; for Uganda, it was 211,100 hectares; and for Gabon, it was 180,000 hectares.
FSC’s efforts to add value to existing sustainably managed forests across Africa are another notable achievement presented in this session.
Using the ecosystem services procedure, FSC has verified ecosystem service claims in the Republic of Congo, Namibia, Uganda, and South Africa. The claims show the positive impacts forest managers in FSC-certified forests are having on restoring watersheds, protecting biodiversity, and restoring degraded forests whether in natural, community, public, or private forests.
New FSC Africa advisory committee members announced
During this year’s membership meeting, FSC introduced new members of the Africa advisory committee in a session discussing high-level engagement in Africa. The session, moderated by Dr Harrison Kojwang, Senior Affairs and Engagement Advisor FSC International, introduced the following new members to the FSC Africa advisory committee:
- Mr Edward Mupada – Africa Regional Director, Navigators Africa and Member of the Environmental Chamber;
- Mr Michal Brink – CEO CMO and FSC Economic Chamber Member;
- Dr Marie Mbolo – Lecturer, University of Yaoundé 1 and Social Chamber Member.
The Africa advisory committee was first launched by FSC Africa in 2022 during the members meeting in Accra, Ghana in August with six members selected from across Africa. FSC then launched a call for nominations from its membership. The process concluded with the selection of three FSC Africa members to join the committee.
Chamber sessions – group discussions
The meeting consisted of several smaller chamber discussions where members engaged and aligned on key issues, priorities, and motions. This enabled members to discuss key issues they wanted FSC to address and examine some of the issues they would like to take to the 2025 General Assembly.
FSC strategy to address the European Union Timber Regulation (EUDR)
FSC explained its approach to ensuring compliance with the EU Regulation on Deforestation and Forest Degradation (EUDR). According to Anand Punja – Chief Engagement and Partnerships Officer, FSC International – FSC is committed to aligning its system structure to support the implementation of relevant forest legislation on the ground. In addition, FSC is committed to enabling the traceability and geolocation of wood and rubber products. FSC will continue to work to ensure that its systems are compatible with the Regulation and that, as forest managers seek to meet the requirements of the FSC standard, they are also aligned with the legality and sustainability requirements of the EUDR.
Implementation of the IFL motion
At the Africa member meeting, FSC provided an update on the implementation of Motion 23 on landscape approaches in Intact Forest Landscapes (IFL). In a session on day two, Kim Carstensen, Director General, FSC International spoke to members about the measures FSC has been putting in place to enable the implementation of the motion since it was voted on in 2022, and the tools FSC is developing to make the process possible.
Community and family forests
Community and family forests featured in numerous discussions at the Africa members meeting in 2023. A session that discussed FSC’s approach to supporting smallholders and family forest managers in Africa to achieve FSC certification was facilitated by Annah Agasha, Coordinator FSC Eastern Africa. It featured work done with small forest growers and forest communities in Cameroon and Kenya.
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