Saturday, 01 May 2021
How FSC Congo Basin is working to Certify 15 million Hectares of Gabon’s Forest Concessions
The Government of Gabon has issued a groundbreaking decision to certify 100% of Gabonese forest concessions to FSC Standards. This project is supported through a grant from the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.
Gabon is the most forested country in the Congo Basin, in terms of percentage of forest cover, with a total of 22 million hectares of forests overall. Of that total, about 15 million hectares of the country’s forests are managed concessions, with only about 2 million FSC-certified hectares. The recent government decision to require FSC certification in all forest concessions, as announced by Gabon’s President, means that there is potential to increase the area under responsible forest management by around 13 million hectares.
The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation (FPA2) has awarded a grant of €240.000 to FSC to implement the "Achieving Forests for All Forever in Gabon" project over a three-year period. This will enable FSC to mobilize and work with forest management stakeholders and government actors to conduct robust training and communication activities to support the successful implementation of Gabon's sustainable forestry goals.
More specifically, the activities being implemented under this initiative aim to:
• Strengthen the commitment and capacity of government authorities / decision-makers to pro-mote and implement pro-FSC certification policy measures and actions.
• Strengthen local capacity for field implementation of FSC certification-related activities and support technical understanding of FSC processes, procedures, and compliance.
• Improve appreciation, awareness (and sharing by FSC and its partners) of the values and benefits of FSC certification at local, national, and international levels.
In late 2020, FSC took part in the Masuku Film and Environment Festival, where FSC Staff led information sessions on local environmental issues, including biodiversity and climate change. In February 2021, FSC Ga-bon office organized a press conference to present its 2021 action plan and officially announce the publication of the FSC national standard. On March 21, 2021, FSC Gabon participated in the International Day of Forests along with the Gabonese Minister of Water and Forests and the FAO representative in Gabon.
The FSC representatives in Gabon, including Mr. George Akwah, Coordinator, and Ms. Nathalie Bouville, Communication Manager, celebrated this international day dedicated to preserving forests at the Sibang Arboretum on the outskirts of Libreville, the capital of Gabon. They took part in a species discovery and planting session. Each participant was able to plant several Okoume and Azobe trees, two emblematic species of Gabon.
FSC Gabon also held information sessions for fifth-grade students in an elementary school in Libreville. FSC presented in classrooms to explain the importance of forest preservation and biodiversity conservation. This pilot operation reached more than 100 students and will serve as a basis for developing an ambitious environmental education program in other schools in the country. Students learned about the importance of sustainable forest management, and how FSC certification can be an effective solution for combating deforestation, protecting biodiversity, and promoting local development.
The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation was established in June 2006 by Prince Albert II of Monaco to respond to the worrying threats to our planet's environment. The FPA2 works to protect the environment and promote sustainable development on a global scale. The Foundation supports projects aimed at limiting the effects of climate change and promoting renewable energy, safeguarding biodiversity, managing water resources, and combating desertification.