A total of 45 participants attended the workshop, including representatives of companies, forestry administrators, civil society organizations, NGOs, and the rubber industry. During the three-day event, participants discussed the FSC standards development process, responsible forest management solutions, rubber certification value chains, and the possibility of adapting the FSC Africa Regional Forest Stewardship Standard for Côte d'Ivoire as an interim national standard.

FSC Congo Basin

According to George Akwah, former FSC Congo Basin Coordinator, forests are a common good of humanity that we have a collective responsibility to protect. In his remarks, he pointed out that forests cover 31% of the earth's surface and are the habitat of 80% of terrestrial species. Forests also support the livelihoods of 1.6 billion people worldwide, provide fresh water, and regulate and stabilize the climate.

FSC develops standards and promotes them so that companies can have a tool to demonstrate their commitment to protecting nature and respecting environmental and economic laws in the countries where they operate, said Akwah. The FSC was established in 1993 to promote responsible forest management, respectful of the environment, socially beneficial, and economically viable. FSC sets standards for responsible forest management. FSC standard certifies traceability from the source of supply to the market, ensuring companies uphold responsible forest management practices. There are currently over 157 million hectares of FSC-certified forests worldwide, with over 78 standards adapted to the local context.

Mrs Sofiatou Babaedjou is the Manager of the Family Oil and Advocacy Programs at Solidaridad, an NGO working in the field of sustainability with producers in Ivory Coast's cacao, oil palm, and cotton producing areas. According to Mrs Sofiatou, the NGO participated in the workshop because it focused on topics that are important to families and local communities who rely on the forests for a living.

"By the end of this workshop, I felt it was critical that I understand the FSC standard and certification process, as well as how we can collaborate with other producers," said Mrs Sofiatou.

The establishment of this standard in Côte d'Ivoire will significantly help the country's development efforts.