5 June, 2018
Uganda launches Africa first FSC National Forest Stewardship Standard
Uganda becomes the first country in Africa to publish the FSC National Forest Stewardship Standard (NFSS) based on Version 5 of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Principles and Criteria (P&C). The standard will be effective from 1st September 2018.
The Standard was officially launched by the Honourable Minister for Water and Environment of the Republic of Uganda, Mr. Sam Cheptoris, who congratulated the FSC and the Standard Development Group for developing the standard and pledged the government support to ensure its implementation.
Speaking at the launch, FSC Director General Kim Carstensen said "The National Forest Stewardship Standard is an important milestone. It is a new basis for promoting responsible forest management in Uganda. Achieving economic, social and environmental benefits by being part of an internationally recognised system of forest certification".
The Standard Development Process for Uganda
The FSC national standard development process for Uganda was initiated in 2011, based on a voluntary, democratic, and participatory model. The process was undertaken by the national Standards Development Group (SDG) Chaired by Dr. Clement A. Okia, Country Representative, ICRAF Uganda, with the SDG Secretariat hosted by Environmental Alert.
The NFSS for Uganda was developed in line with the final version of the FSC international generic indicators (IGIs) which were released by FSC International in April 2015.
The scope of the NFSS for the Republic of Uganda includes plantations, semi-natural and natural forests. It is applicable to large industrial forest owners and smallholders.
Importance of the National Forest Stewardship Standard for Uganda's forestry
"The Uganda National Forest Stewardship Standards are very important because they will serve as yardstick for us to manage our forest better" said Dr Clement Okia.
Annah Agasha, East Africa Project Manager for FSC Africa said "The Standard will be used by the forest owner(s), including Government of Uganda, to determine the extent to which they are managing their forest(s) in a responsible manner."
Edward Mupada, the FSC National Focal Point for Uganda pointed out that "The Uganda National FSC Forest Stewardship Standard and associated procedures will help Uganda forest owners tap into good markets for forest products like timber, wood pulp and ecosystem services that include carbon sequestration and storage, biodiversity conservation, water catchment services and tourism."
The SDG is composed of individuals and organizations with a stake and interest in Responsible Forest Management. Members of the SDG included representatives of the Forestry Sector Support Department of the Ministry of Water and Environment, Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), National Forestry Authority, Uganda Wildlife Authority, Uganda Timber Growers Association, Kyenjojo District Local Government, Makerere University (School of Forestry, Environmental & Geographical Sciences), National Environment Management Authority, New Forests Company, Global Woods, Green Resources, National Forestry Resources Research Institute, Wildlife Conservation Society, private tree growers & forest owners, WWF Uganda Country Office, IUCN (Uganda Office), CARE (Uganda), Environmental Alert, and private consulting firms.