The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) will implement a new forest management standard in Canada, only after considerable stakeholder engagement ensures this new standard reflects the opinions of all stakeholders, as far as possible.
This is according to Kim Carstensen, Director General of FSC, who was responding to concerns from environmental, social and economic groups that their needs would be superseded by others in the development of the new standard. Stakeholders were also concerned about the implementation of Motion 65, passed at FSC’s last international members’ meeting, which called for the protection of the world’s remaining untouched forests.
The FSC International secretariat has warned the Board of Directors that the current deadline to implement Motion 65 into national forest management standards, set for the end of 2016, is creating significant levels of anxiety in Canada and threatens to disrupt ongoing processes to find national, chamber-balanced solutions to protect IFLs in Canada. The Board of Directors shared this concern and agreed to receive and vote on a proposal to prolong the current deadline at their next meeting in July. A postponement would give the Canadian stakeholders appropriate time to agree how protection of intact forest landscapes should be included in the national standard. Carstensen reconfirmed that FSC would consider all opinions and ensure that consensus is reached among the four chambers so that a compromise that is acceptable to all can be implemented.
“FSC is an international membership organization with a governance structure based on participation, democracy, equity and transparency and we are committed to using this quality to ensure that Motion 65 gets implemented as part of a Canadian standard that provides innovative solutions in line with 21st century issues,” according to the council’s international Director General, Kim Carstensen.
“The FSC International Board of Directors will vote on a proposal for Motion 65 that ensures that inclusive, chamber-balanced input is listened to, particularly regarding the integration of Indigenous concerns related to Free, Prior and Informed Consent and Indigenous Cultural landscapes.”
While FSC international members voted for Motion 65, forest management standards are developed at a national level. FSC Canada recognizes a relevant and feasible new standard requires analysis and consensus and it will take into consideration the needs of all members to ensure that the National Forest Management Standard is an accurate reflection of all Canadian stakeholders. The new standard will cover issues particular to the country, such as the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent of First Nations and the protection of the habitat of the woodland caribou.
“Canada is a key supplier of FSC certified products internationally bringing a clear competitive advantage to the Canadian forest sector worldwide,” according to François Dufresne, president of the Canadian chapter. “FSC Canada is part of the solution to ensure domestic and international market access for forest products from responsible sources considering that 80% of all Canadian forest products are exported, mainly to the United States.”
FSC International is committed to provide additional resources to ensure a smooth transition towards the implementation of the new National Forest Management standard in Canada, FSC says. These resources will be deployed into more robust field-testing and stakeholder engagements. FSC Canada’s forest management standard is set to be completed in early 2017. To reach this objective, FSC Canada will have to merge its four standards (B-C, National Boreal, Maritimes, Great Lakes/St. Lawrence) into a national standard.