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India now has an internationally benchmarked Forest Management Certification Standard

KJ Staff
KJ Staff

National Certification Scheme for Sustainable Forest Management also launched by NCCF 

New Delhi, January 13, 2018: Network for Certification 8: Conservation of Forests (NCCF) in association and participation from Government, industry and other stakeholders, has released India‘s internationally bencltmarked Forest Management Certification Standard today. The occasion also marked the launch of the National Certification Scheme for Sustainable Forest Management. The scheme announced at the National Conference on Forest Certification3 organized by NCCF will be bring a paradigm shift towards responsible utilisation of natural resources and trade of forest products in India.

 “The domestic certification scheme took three years of rigorous process, several rounds of discussions, regional consultation workshops and pilot testing to give its final shape. 7718 standard provides flexibility in addressing variability in forests and biodiversity; provides traceability and legality mechanism thus control in illegal felling; ensures responsible trade both from buyer side and supplier side; adds value allows non~tariff entry barriers and access to new markets; enables pro-active risk management; and ensures biodiversity conservation and sustainable management of natural resources," informs Mr. Vijai Shanna, L45 (Retd), Chairman, NCCF. 

 It also helps in achieving the objectives of national schemes and international commitments such as Sustainable Development Goals (8065), Intended Nationally determined contributions (INDCs), United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF), National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), Green India Mission (GIM), Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Flaming Authority (CAMPA), National Afforestation Programme (NAP). 

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The components of forest certification essentially complement various elements of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). The Paris Agreement on Climate Change, to which India is a party, re~emphasised the significance of sustainable forest management through the REDD+. 

The need for it: Forest resource has been under strain primarily because of two reasons commercial use of wood and deforestation due to changes in land use. Till now, two approaches were adopted ‘top-down’ approach wherein government formulates and implements policies; and the ‘bottom-up’ approach which is more of a participatory approach to protect forests. However, ineffectiveness of both have led to a third approach forest certification. It introduces policy changes through commercial power, rather than central or local power, and uses market acceptance rather than regulatory compliance as an enforcement mechanism. Besides this, regulations from developed countries like Lacey Amendment Act, 2008 (USA); European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR); Forest Law Enforcement in Governance & Trade (FLEGT); Illegal Logging Prohibition Act, 2011 (Australia) etc., have put a ban on commerce of illegally sourced plants and their products including timber and paper. Majorly, this has fuelled the need for legalising of sourcing through forest certification in the recent past. 

 According to Mr. Suneel Pandey, Secretary, NCCF, “State Forest Development Corporations and State Forest Departments have an immense scope of entering the certified products market and get a premium value for their produce. The total supply of oerltjied wood in India is less than 10% of the total demand. The cast of certification can easily be offset by the premium that can be charged for certified produce. Not to forget the  earned owing to higher level of social compliance and commimwnt lo environment conservation. Mr. Sachin Raj Jain, Convener & Treasurer, NCCF. added. “NCC‘F is simultaneously developing the certification standards for the Trees outside Forests (Tor), Protected Areas and Wetlands (PA W5) and Non Wood Forests Products (NWF‘Ps). These India Specific, yet internationally benchmarked certification standards will go u long way in conserving and enhancing our rich forests and (he biodiversity. NCCF is also planning to initiate the process for development of other sustainable standards for sustainable colourism and sustainable mining.” 

 Ministries, industry bodies & companies who participated in developing the standard: A multi stakeholder Standard Development Group (SDG) was formed as per UN Agenda 21 having representation from distinguished professional iorcstcrs; Indian Council of Forestry Research 8: Education (ICFRE) and Indian Institute of Forest Management (lIFM) of the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MOIFCC); Ministry of Agriculture 8: Farmers' Welfare; Ministry of Commerce; Ministry of Textiles; Quality Council of India; Green Initiatives Certification 8: Inspection Agency (GlClA); representatives of the State Forest Departments and State Forest Development Corporations; lntematlonal Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); World Wildlife Fund (WWF); Confederation of lndian industries (C11); C11 [TC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development; Indian Paper Manufacturers Association (IPMA); Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH); Chr‘mical and Allied Export Promotion Council of India (CAPEXIL); Centre for lndian Bamboo Research 8: Technology (CIBART); International Network for Bamboo 8r Rattan (lNBAR); The Energy 8: Resource Institute (TERI);) and many more. Of the many names from the industry. some leading ones include ITC PSPD Greenply Industries; Star Paper Mills; Tamil Nadu Newsprint & Papers Ltd. (TNNPL); Dalmia Bharat Group; etc. 

 About NCCF in brief: 

 The Network for Certification & Conservation of Forests (NCCF) is an emerging multi stakeholder not for profit organisation. Some of its key activities include standard development. natural resource management, conservation, policy advocacy, capacity building etc The canvas is evolving with domestic socio-economic developmental priorities and global environmental concerns that include climate change, degrading environment, biodiversity loss, desertification, pressure on wildlife habitat, poor urban air quality and loss of livelihoods. The growing partnerships with concerned central government Ministries, State Forest Departments, professional for-esters, civil society organisations, research and academic institutions, industry, forest dwellers, farmers’ groups, workers’ bodies and many more give the NCCF strength to achieve the specilic conservation objectives. 

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