Thursday, 27 October 2016
Fruitful discussions at the third regional members meeting in Johannesburg.
On 13-14 October, FSC staff and members gathered at the Leriba Hotel and Spa in Johannesburg, South Africa for what promised to be a very eventful two days! This was the third in a global series of regional members meetings.
It was attended by FSC members, and FSC staff. The intention of the meeting was to generate discussions around pertinent issues in the African context, to receive and provide useful feedback with regard to the aforementioned issues, and to provide input for consideration at the upcoming 2017 General Assembly.
As anticipated, the two day meeting was filled with intense discussions and debates around issues such as controlled wood, intact forest landscapes, governance, pesticides, certification for smallholders and much more. Members even requested extra time on the second day to continue their discussions from the day before and to provide FSC with additional feedback! We were very pleased with the level of engagement and the many concrete suggestions and honest opinions provided by the members.
Members stressed the importance of adopting a bottom-up approach and adapting to meet the unique needs in the African context. The language barriers faced by members in different sub-regions was also emphasized and will be addressed. There were also key discussions around improving engagement with existing stakeholders (including members themselves) and initiating engagements with stakeholders such as governments.
Members representing the three chambers were given an opportunity to provide input as to which topics they believe should receive more attention at the General Assembly, and how to make sure Africa has a voice at the General Assembly. All three chambers provided some excellent suggestions, many of which will be taken forward.
This was a very fruitful meeting and we are confident that it will lead to solutions which are appropriate for Africa and help to achieve the hopes and ambitions for FSC in Africa that both members and FSC staff expressed during these two days.