Tuesday, 27 August 2013 17:30

Argentina Seeks PEFC Endorsement

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The Argentine Forest Certification System is seeking endorsement by PEFC for the first time, and interested parties from around the world are encouraged to participate in the global public consultation, an important element of the independent assessment process, by 26 October 2013.

There are over 28 million hectares of natural forest in Argentina - covering a tenth of the country’s land area – but less than 1% of these forests are currently certified. With 80% of Argentina’s forests under private ownership, there is a clear need for a certification system that involves all stakeholders in the standard setting process to ensure that it responds adequately to their various needs, while at the same time meeting globally accepted international requirements.

The Argentine Forest Certification System is a voluntary initiative of national stakeholders to establish forest certification requirements for both native forests and plantations. It was developed in a multi-stakeholder process with participation of representatives from every link in the value chain of forest-based products and other interested parties making up the entire forest sector in Argentina.

In 2009 CERFOAR, a civil non-profit association, was formed by the Argentine Forest Association (AFoA), the Argentine Federation of Wood Industry and Allied (FAIMA) and the Cellulose and Paper Manufacturers Association (AFCP) to manage the Argentine Forest Certification System. A year later, during the 14th PEFC General Assembly in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, CERFOAR was accepted as a PEFC National Governing Body.

The Argentine Forest Certification System was adopted by CERFOAR in August 2013 and subsequently submitted to PEFC for endorsement.

“One of PEFC's unique features is that it enables the independent development of national standards tailored to the political, economic, social, environmental and cultural realities of the respective countries, which is especially relevant in the context of Argentina,” stressed Jorge Barros, President of CERFOAR. “The Argentine standard will assist in mainstreaming forest certification in our country, with PEFC recognition providing local forest owners with access to the global marketplace. We are confident that the assessment process will demonstrate that our standard is in compliance with PEFC International’s rigorous Sustainability Benchmarks.”

In addition to the comprehensive and inclusive process at national level, all standards are subjected to an independent third-party evaluation, global public consultation, a review by the Panel of Experts, and consideration by the PEFC Board of Directors before PEFC members decide about the endorsement of a particular national system.

If approved, Argentina would become the fourth Latin American country featuring a PEFC-endorsed national forest certification system.

Please submit your comments on the Argentine Forest Certification System by 26 October 2013 using PEFC's Online Consultation Tool.

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