Implementation of a regional approach and development of the PAFC forest certification scheme

Ref 2017-F-043

Natural forests management
Central Africa
Cameroon, Gabon, République Démocratique du Congo, Republic of Congo

The PAFC (Pan African Forest Certification) certification scheme has been developed in Gabon and Cameroon, but needs to be extended to the regional scale via a common standard for all forest countries of the Congo Basin.

In collaboration with ATIBT, and with the support of the KfW PPECF program, TEREA was entrusted with the following objectives

• To develop a PAFC certification system for the Congo Basin,
• To have it recognized by the PEFC Council (thus a necessary respect of the requirements in terms of content and process),
• To provide forest operators and auditors with a tool to implement the requirements as easily as possible,
• To perpetuate and institutionalize the PAFC regional scheme by giving the initiative a territorial (on the scale of the Congo Basin) and institutional (through COMIFAC) visibility and consequently a commercial visibility to the PAFC Congo Basin certified timber.

The regional approach should allow :

  • To achieve, thanks to a mutualization of tools and men, financial savings in terms of operation and administration of the system (a grouped, coherent, competent team) but also during the accreditation process and during the review process every 5 years (a strong and costly obligation imposed by the PEFC Council).
  • To ensure the sustainability of the system in particular through the recruitment of a project coordinator from the beginning of the project to define a viable and structured regional initiative.
  • To create a sub-regional dynamic between the different actors and stakeholders around the certification.

TEREA's team intervened in the project as technical assistant of the ATIBT, the structure carrying the process. TEREA was in charge of the technical follow-up of the development of the standard, which consisted in :

  • Elaborate the different procedures and requirements of certification for the recognition by PEFC Council, and in particular the standards of sustainable forest management and the requirements of accreditation of the certification bodies as well as the administrative procedures of operation of the scheme itself;
  • Ensure compliance with the development procedure in terms of communication with stakeholders, compliance with deadlines, and compilation of the file;
  • Follow the validation process of the scheme with the PEFC Council.

The PAFC regional scheme has been operational since 2022.