FSC Forest Week, before known as FSC Friday, is a worldwide initiative to raise awareness of the importance of forests and how buying goods with sustainable sourcing may contribute to the development of resilient forests in the future. FSC led campaign operations in Cameroon, Gabon, and the Republic of Congo in the Congo Basin.

In Gabon, field visits and information exchange

The campaign in Gabon involved FSC certificate holders, youth, media, and governmental institutions. Its focus was "the benefits of FSC certification for forests and the life they sustain."

Visit of Bambidie

On September 23 and 24, the campaign was launched in Bambidie at the industrial site at the Precious Woods – CEB forest concession, in the Gabonese province of Ogooué Lolo. FSC joined Precious Woods – CEB to open its Botanical trail on September 23. According to Etienne Lacroix, Site Manager at Precious Woods – CEB, the Bambidie Cultural Centre set up the Botanical trail to train staff and to encourage studies on local tree species and wildlife in the certified forest concession.

FSC is promoting the ecosystems procedure, a tool that enables organisations to lead responsible forest management initiatives that make an impact in the fight against climate change, biodiversity loss, and other global concerns, said George Akwah, FSC Congo Basin Coordinator, during the inauguration. "This Botanical trail demonstrates how that can function in the real world."  Bambidie Primary School pupils, FSC staff, and Precious Woods – CEB Senior Staff attended the ceremony. The day, which began with lively interaction with children at the Bambidie Cultural Centre, concluded with a tree-planting exercise at a nursery site Precious Woods – CEB set up. Thanks to the site, the company has planted thousands of trees in degraded forest areas in its forest concession.

At Bambidie, Precious Woods – CEB is protecting high-value conservation (HVC) areas in its forest concession, where fauna and flora thrive in their natural habitat. On 24 September, the FSC team visited the HVC sites looking to encounter the elephants that normally use those areas. “We were not lucky to see them that day, but a young male gorilla saluted us on the road on our way back,” said Esteban Toja, Certification Advisor, FSC Congo Basin. The team concluded the day partaking in a football game Precious Woods – CEB organised for its workers to celebrate forests for future generations.

Participants at the FSC Forest Week closing event at the Ministry of Forests and Oceans

Advantages of forest certification and exchange with the press

Twenty journalists attended an exchange hosted by FSC and the World Wide Fund (WWF) on September 28 in Gabon. The discussion focused on how journalists could apply investigative reporting to inspire positive action towards responsible forest management.

On September 30, in collaboration with the Ministry of Forests, Oceans, Environment and Climate Change in Gabon, FSC organised at the Ministry’s Auditorium, an information exchange with stakeholders of the forest sector. The mayor of Franceville, the Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Forests, Oceans, Environment and Climate Change, NGOs, civil society organisations, the media, youth leaders, representatives of state institutions, and students from forest institutions were among the 80 attendees at the event.

The Young Talent Film Competition on the theme; forests: a living environment for future generations was presented at this occasion.

The Young Talent Film Competition is a new FSC initiative developed in partnership with the Masuku Festival Association designed to encourage young people to show their passion for forests through movie making.

Three winners received the award for their videos, which highlighted the value of protecting forests to people.

The winners of the contest were:

  • 1st Prize: Tree preservation by Sandjoh Schalam Samuela
  • 2nd Prize: Discovery of a forest in Gabon by Kendi and Abigalle AGOMA
  • 3rd Prize: The garden of my childhood by Kaily Nantenen NDJILEKISSA
  • 4th Prize: Epinit Arwen Théolia's Crie de Forêt

The event also featured a panel discussion that presented concrete examples of how FSC certification has helped Gabon's socioeconomic and environmental growth.

This panel featured the following speakers:

  • Edwige Eyang Effa, Researcher, IRET (Institut de Recherche en Écologie Tropicale),
  • Nathalie Nyare Essima, Project Lead, BIODEV 2030, WWF Gabon
  •  Sylvie Boldrini, Environment, Sustainability and Governance Manager in Timber Platform, Gabon Special Economic Zone (GSEZ), and
  • David Zakamdi, Director of Sustainable Management, Precious Woods – CEB.

Following the panel, Jacques Kamffougha, Director of Forestry Development at the Ministry of Forests, Oceans, Environment and Climate Change presented Gabon’s journey towards the generalisation of forest certification in the country.

Rougier launches a school in Mouyabi, Gabon

Mouyabi is a forest village in the province of Ogooue-Ivindo in the department of Lope in Gabon. During the Forest Week, Rougier launched the government primary school of Mouyabi, an education facility it constructed for communities in and around its forest concession in the village on September 30. The event was attended by provincial authorities, local chiefs, and representatives from the Ministry of Forests, Oceans, Environment and Climate Change.

Esteban Toja, Certification Advisor, FSC Congo Basin and Eric Chezeaux, Corporate Social Responsibility and Certifications Director, Rougier Gabon met and exchanged with local people at the launch. According to Eric Chezeaux, the action is part of Rougier’s commitment to providing social services to improve the standard of living of people in and around its certified forest concessions.

FSC Tree Planting

Trees in degraded areas in Cameroon

The FSC Forest Week in Cameroon involved a forestry institution, young people in schools, communities, and an FSC certificate holder.

On September 28, 2022, a group of FSC members, FSC representative, members of the Cameroon Standard Development Group, and media launched the FSC Forest Week at the National Forest and Water School in Mbalmayo, Cameroon. The event educated over 200 young people on the value of forests to both the environment and mankind. To promote forest regrowth, the delegation planted 120 trees in a degraded area close to the school. According to William Lawyer, Standard Manager, FSC Africa planting trees in the degraded forest landscape is a great approach to restoring and healing the environment.

On October 30, the team travelled to Pallisco the only FSC certificate holder in the country in Mindourou, in the East Region of Cameroon, who started a sensitisation campaign on September 24 at its concession. Before visiting two schools, the Industrial and Commercial Technical College (CETIC) of Mindourou and the Government Bilingual Secondary School of Mindourou Dja, where they planted about 300 trees, the delegation first engaged in conversations with local populations around the forest management area. More than 500 students participated in the event, which covered the benefits of FSC certification and the significance of forest management practices. The trip to Mindourou came to an end with a tree-planting exercise.

In the Republic of Congo, communities celebrate FSC Forest Week 2022

In the north of the Republic of Congo, FSC certificate holder Interholco IFO (Industrie Forestière de Ouesso), organised awareness raising activities to celebrate the FSC Forest Week 2022 in its certified concession located in the village of Ngombe in the Sangha region. The company operates in 1.16 million hectares of forests in the Republic of Congo and employs around 900 people. The activities engaged staff and communities living around and inside the certified forest concession.

FSC Africa benefits from the support of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation - http://www.fpa2.org