Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) International
  • Date submitted: 31 Oct 2011
  • Stakeholder type: Major Group
  • Name: Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) International
  • Submission Document: Download
Keywords: Implementation (1 hits),

Full Submission

Contribution by PEFC to the Outcomes of the Rio+20 Conferences

PEFC, the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification and world?s largest forest certification, recalls the 2011 UNEP ?Forests in a Green Economy? report. ?Forests are a critical link in the transition to a green economy ? one that promotes sustainable development and poverty eradication as we move towards a low-carbon and more equitable future,? writes Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director. ?Biologically-rich forest ecosystems provide shelter, food, jobs, water, medicine and security to more than 1 billion people, as well as regulate our global climate.?

Mr. Steiner emphasizes that ?[w]hile we have a suite of proven sustainable forestry practices and policies that work, they must now be scaled up and enforced to safeguard these natural assets.?

PEFC supports these important messages.

Over the past 20 years, forest certification has become one of the most important tools for global society to promote sustainable forest management. Yet despite major strides in certification, only nine percent of the world?s forests have been certified and ninety percent of these are in Europe and North America. Similarly, despite some progress in alleviating poverty around the world, population growth means that in real terms the number of people living below the poverty line remains high ? poverty is a major reason for deforestation and illegal logging. This situation is further complicated in rapidly emerging economies where land tenure rights have to date been ill-defined or may be weak and evolving.

Forest certification system such as PEFC are an important mechanism that offer potential to contribute to improving livelihoods, particularly in developing countries, and to assist in lifting people out of poverty. Forest certification is also important in assisting us in moving towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, including that by that by 2020, forests are managed sustainably and forest loss is halved. This, however, requires us to mainstream forest certification throughout the world and especially in the Global South. To achieve this, all forest certification systems and stakeholders must seek to ensure that our efforts to expand forest certification are additive and not duplicative, contributing to an expansion of the overall total certified forest area. In a world where deforestation continues unabated in many nations, stakeholder must collaborate whenever possible. While PEFC ? the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification ? is the larger of the two global forest certification systems, we must utilize the different approaches offered for the best of society as a whole. We must agree on a common framework to guide forest certification and its stakeholders in their actions.

The Rio Forest Certification Declaration (, supported by PEFC, the world?s largest forest certification system and by hundreds of people who have signed the Declaration online, represents such a common framework. PEFC calls for the Inclusion of the ?Rio Forest Certification Declaration? in the outcomes of the Rio+20 conference.

The Rio Forest Certification Declaration


The challenge of safeguarding the environmental, social and economic benefits that the world?s forests provide is critical for life on Earth. It requires a world in which people manage forests sustainably, a world that recognizes the integral and interdependent nature of our planet, a world that acknowledges and values the significance of rural communities, indigenous peoples, and families that depend on forests for their livelihoods.

Principle 1: Human beings are at the centre of sustainable forest management

Public and private policies designed to promote sustainable forest management can only succeed if they enhance the quality of life of people who live in and/or depend upon forests.

Application: Forest certification systems and all stakeholders must act to protect and promote forestdependent populations, local communities, smallholder forest owners, workers, family foresters, women, youth and children, and indigenous peoples all of whom are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with the forests on which they depend.

Principle 2: Recognize and respect national sovereignty in the design and Implementation of sustainable forest management policies and standards

In accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, the Rio Forest Principles, and the principles of international law, all states have both the sovereign right and obligation to develop their own sustainable forest management objectives. States must act to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause environmental, social, or economic damage to areas and people beyond the limits of their national jurisdiction or violate international protocols and conventions.

Application: Forest certification systems, forest stakeholders, especially Major Groups and OECD countries, must respect each nation?s chosen path to promote sustainable development, the Millennium Development Goals, and sustainably managed forests in their actions, policies and guidelines.

Principle 3: Protect the complexity of forest ecosystems, forest-dependent economies, and rural culture by adopting integrated forest management plans and policies

In order to promote sustainable forest management, forest certification standards, national forest policy, and private and public procurement guidelines must meet the needs of present and future generations by promoting economically viable, ecologically sound, and socially just outcomes based on the national and/or local context.

Application: Forest certification standards, public policy and procurement guidelines must integrate competing demands in order to meet the needs of all stakeholders to deliver balanced socially, economically and environmentally sustainable solutions.

Principle 4: Contribute to poverty reduction through empowerment of the poor

Peace, social justice, global economic equity, and environmental protection are interdependent and indivisible. Poverty reduction is an indispensable requirement for sustainable forest management; it is an integral part of the development process and cannot be considered in isolation from it. The linkage between deforestation and poverty is strong, compelling, and in need of specific attention. Measures diminishing forest resources to increase agricultural resources to contribute to food security must directly contribute to the sustainable livelihoods of those affected.

Application: Forest certification systems, Major Groups and governments may contribute to mitigate deforestation and promote afforestation within their boundaries and jurisdictions and seek to safeguard forest resources. Standards and policies must promote the efficient use of forest resources, good forest management, and provide for increased wealth retention in rural communities through partnerships with smallholders, community-owned forests, and indigenous peoples? organizations, in addition to maximizing formal employment opportunities.

Principle 5: Open and accessible stakeholder processes are essential

Sustainable forest management is best achieved through the empowerment of all stakeholders in open and accessible processes. Special outreach must occur for those groups lacking a tradition of involvement or lacking the resources required.

Application: Forest certification governance systems, private and public procurement entities, and standards development processes must seek to ensure the involvement of Major Groups and governments in a multistakeholder, consensus-driven process, respecting the right to self-identification and self-determination while avoiding governance systems and decision-making processes designed to restrict the voice or participation of any stakeholder.

Principle 6: Transparency, inclusiveness, and collaboration are fundamental prerequisites for global sustainability

Expanding sustainable forest management to all of the world?s forest requires cooperative and transparent processes among all stakeholders and governments. Promoting division, competition, and exclusivity among and between different approaches to sustainable forest management wastes limited resources, encroaches on stakeholder-driven processes, diverts attention from areas where deforestation and unsustainable forest management are still common practices, and fails to expand the total volume of global well-managed forest area.

Application: Certification schemes, procurement guidelines, and those seeking to protect forests must promote standards, policies, and practices, which are inclusive and recognize the superiority of all types of sustainably managed forests and certification systems as a tool to promote sustainable development.

Principle 7: Utilize the benefits of renewable and climate-smart forest-based products

Sustainable forest management must adapt to complex societal challenges such as climate change, population growth and increasing resource shortages caused by unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, especially those that are high-carbon emitting. Recognizing the unique attributes of forest products from sustainably managed forests both in terms of carbon sequestration, other ecosystem services, and development values is critical for public and private policy makers, including climate policy negotiators. Application: Forest certification systems, governments, and procurement entities must recognize and use all tools available to support forests to adapt and thrive with these challenges including adaptive silvicultural practices, promotion of recycled and forest-based products for their unique attributes in terms of carbon sequestration, other ecosystem services, and development values.

Principle 8: Rely on science, local experience, and traditional forest-related knowledge to advance sustainable forest management

Sustainable forest management will be most successful when it is based on scientific, local experience and traditional forest knowledge, as well as international protocols and processes. Improving scientific understanding through exchanges of scientific, local and traditional forest-related and technological knowledge, and the development, adaptation, diffusion and transfer of technologies, is critical to the delivery of a balanced approach to sustainable forest management. Indigenous peoples have a vital role in sustainable forest management because of their knowledge and traditional practices.

Application: Forest certification systems, governments and procurement entities must develop standards based on the best available science, local and traditional knowledge and be structured such that developing countries, communities and small forest landowners have a clear path to meet the forest management standards. These approaches must be independently verifiable, using guidelines and requirements in compliance with internationally respected organizations such as ISO. Conflicts of interests between governmental procurement entities, standard-setting bodies, certification organizations, accreditation bodies, and auditors must be handled accordingly in order to provide legitimacy to the process.

Principle 9: Use a precautionary approach to prevent irreversible damage

In order to best safeguard forest resources, precautionary approaches must be widely applied by all stakeholders where there are imminent threats of serious or irreversible damage. Application: Forest certification systems, governments, and procurement entities must strive for continuous improvement while remaining aware of the consequences of their programmes and standards for all stakeholders.

Principle 10: Promoting global acceptance of sustainable forest management through voluntary programmes and education is the fastest path to healthy forests and vibrant rural communities Achieving sustainable forest management is a major challenge in many parts of the world. Voluntary forest certification and private and public procurement policies are important tools to protect forests and forestdependent populations.

Application: Forest certification systems, Major Groups and governments have an obligation to make available and use, for the advancement of sustainable forest management, their respective areas of expertise, influence and power. Policies, standards and tactics that negatively affect forest-dependent people, deny markets to sustainably managed forests, and create development obstacles, lead to inefficiencies in the allocation of resources, and are a barrier to advancing sustainable forest management globally and locally
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