Seville, Spain (8 September 2014) - "We are proud of what we've
accomplished in the last 20 years. We have come a long way, but we can
achieve even more. And the World's forests need that."
This statement was made by Kim Carstensen, Director General of the
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) ahead of the organization's official
celebration of its 20th anniversary, at its triennial General Assembly in Seville, Spain.
FSC was founded in 1994 after the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro
failed to address the challenge of deforestation. Since the Rio Summit,
the world has lost seven percent of its forest cover. While some
countries in temperate regions have seen deforestation rates stabilize,
or even reverse, loss of forest cover remains a significant challenge,
especially in tropical regions where FSC's influence remains limited.
"There are many tools needed to prevent deforestation in tropical
forest countries. One of these tools is certification," Carstensen
explained. "We currently have 20 million hectares certified in tropical
timber countries, and about 10% of the total FSC certified forest is in
the tropics. This is not nearly enough. But we do know that those 20
million hectares are being managed in such a way that is environmentally
appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable. We need to
work to increase that 20 million hectares substantially."
The reasons for this deforestation had little to do with the forests
themselves. Tropical deforestation was mainly caused by conversion of
forest for palm oil cultivation, beef grazing, soya production, and all
manner of other agricultural activities. Weaker governance and often
conflict in many tropical forest countries was also responsible for
deforestation. Plantation establishment played a role in some settings,
but FSC was seeing promising developments towards more sustainable
approaches, particularly where certification played a role.
After 20 years in existence, FSC is the world's strongest
certification, in terms of global reach, robustness of certification
criteria and number of businesses involved in the system. Over 180
million hectares are FSC certified. The organisation works with 150,000
small holders around the world, and is increasingly working with
indigenous groups who live in and around certified forests. Recently,
FSC formed the Permanent Indigenous Peoples' Committee to ensure that
indigenous people have a say in the way forests are managed.
The General Assembly is FSC's top decision-making body, where the
members propose, debate and vote on policy that guides the organization.
As a member-led democracy, FSC is unique among forest certification
Website : www.fsc.org