Is the FSC regional standard compatible with FLEGT?

FSC and FLEGT (© FSC AC)© FSC ACAfter the approval of the Congo Basin standard April 2012; the following conditions that were expected to be addressed during the life time of the standard accompanied the decision of the Policy and Standards Committee (PSC).

Condition 1: Streamlining the regional standard at country level with the approved FLEGT Legality Grids for each country, by the end of June 2012.

Status on Condition1: FSC secretariat contracted a consultant in July 2012, to harmonise the regional standard with the legality Grids of Cameroon, Republic of Congo and Central African Republic. These countries were identified because at the time the consultant did the job, these were the countries that had signed Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA) with the EU.

Harmonisation with legality grids was finally done for Cameroon and the Republic of Congo. Due to political instability and related problems in the Central African Republic, the consultant could not travel to the country for a similar exercise.

The process of harmonising the Congo basin standard with legality requirements of countries in the Congo Basin was also agreed by the regional Standard Development Group that this was going to be one of the exercises performed to render the regional standard country specific; besides adding verifiers under other requirements that are not from the legality grid. Indicators were not to be touched.

With the conclusion of this exercise in Cameroon and the Republic of Congo, there are now FSC standard for the Republic of Cameroon and for the Republic of Congo which can be downloaded from the website. Both standards are harmonised with the respective country legality grids and therefore compatible with VPA requirements.

Condition 2: Field test at national level by the end of 2012;

A field test was later on not considered needed by the FSC Policy and Standards Unit (PSU), the FSC unit responsible for assessment of standards. This is because there is a wide existing FSC forest management experience in the sub-region, the during the five years that the process took it was consulted upon with Certification Bodies and after submitting the standard for evaluation, the PSU did not receive any comment of technical insufficiency or difficulty of the standard.

In addition to this, towards the end of the year 2012 FSC required from Certification Bodies to give feedback on first experience of using the standard. Amongst the feedback received PSU could identify very few cases of technically not feasible.

Condition 3: Integrate HCV guidance once it is ready at the international level as soon as it is available
In Progress

Condition 4: Transfer to the new P&C by the end of the International Generic Indicator process in 2013 In progress

For more information on legality see: "FSC and Timber Legality" on the International website (opens link in new tab)

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