Standard for FSC timber certification developed

Interim standard for Forest Stewardship Council timber certification has been developed in coordination with the forest based grassroots people, national level policy makers, representatives from governmental and non governmental organizations and international certification experts. Participated by over 50 representatives from social, economic and environmental backgrounds, the participants said that principles and criteria of sustainable forest management can be very practical in Nepal.

Speaking at the program organized by ANSAB, Dr. Udaya Raj Sharma, Director General of Department of Forests said “we have made an important stride in the sector of sustainable forest management and the initiative has also helped government in its forest management programs.” Similarly, Dr. Damodar Parajuli, Chief, Foreign Aid Coordination Division, MFSC stressed, “we should equally promote social, economic and environmental aspects in which the forest certification success that is already observed can promote international market of the certified products.”

Dr.Bijnan Acharya of USAID emphasized the need of support from aid agencies to further replicate the success of sustainable forest management initiative in Nepal. In the context, Dr. Bhishma P. Subedi, Executive Director of ANSAB highlighted the sustainable forest management practice underway in the certified community forests. Dr. Subedi also called on support from the relevant agencies to further step up the certification process.

Ms. Tensie Whelan, Executive Director of Rainforest Alliance said the forest certification process was a big progress in a short period. Ms. Whelan also expressed the potentials of the market promotion. Mr. Walter Smith, Senior Technical Specialist at Rainforest Alliance highlighted the objective of interim standard preparation and its necessity.

Rainforest Alliance has already certified 170 million ha of forest area of 54 countries with Forest Stewardship Council certification. Recently, the alliance certified 11 Community Forest User Groups (CFUGs) of Bajhang and Dolakha of Nepal and provided Chain of Custody certification to 5 community based companies. This kind of certification is the first in the Asia and fifth in the world. ANSAB, FECOFUN (Federation of Community Forest Users, ) and relevant governmental and non-governmental organizations have contributed their efforts in the process of making forest certification a success in Nepal.