Tuesday, 03 July 2018
FSC meets with Minister of Water and Environment in Uganda
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Director General Kim Carstensen, the Interim Regional Director, Mr. Steve Ball and the East Africa Project Manager, Mrs. Annah Agasha met with the Uganda Minister of Water and Environment Hon. Sam Cheptoris on 02 June 2018 in Kampala.
The meeting preceded the launch of the FSC National Forest Stewardship Standard (NFSS) for the Republic of Uganda that took place on 4 June 2018.
The meeting discussed critical areas of collaboration between FSC and the Ministry, these included a proposal to sign a Memorandum of Understanding that will enable both entities to work together on priority issues like certification of natural forests in Uganda, making FSC certification a requirement in timber trade and identify market access issues and opportunities in Uganda.
The minister highlighted several issues important in Uganda including deforestation and forest degradation, illegal logging and they have embarked on extracting timber from the Central Forest Reserves (CFR). He added that Uganda has over 500 Central Forest Reserves spread throughout the country, under the management of the National Forest Authority, that need urgent attention to avoid illegal settlement and encroachment on the natural forests.
He added that the government has taken a decision to partner with the private sector to invest in commercial tree growing to counter deforestation and ensure that Ugandans also benefit commercially from the forest sector. FSC already has three certified companies in Uganda New Forest Company, Green Resources and Global Woods, the Minister said he hoped they will contribute in reversing the effects of deforestation and bring back the forest cover to at least 24% instead of the current 9%.
Kim Carstensen said FSC offers standards as tool to better management of the forest resource and should provide better returns. He noted that the standards once applied, helps in sustainable forest management, leads to market access and better realisation of economic, environmental and social beneficial.
The FSC Africa interim Regional Director Mr. Steve Ball, said the Ugandan government has an opportunity to make the forestry sector one of their priority economic drivers. ” FSC certification can be used by the ministry as a tool to prove that the forest can be profitable, sustainable and create employment opportunities for the local communities. As FSC we are keen to look at market access issues in East Africa and to interact more with the Ministry and other players in Uganda to understand the issues at hand and work together to begin to address them” said Steve.