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News release

Should a phased approach be taken to certification?

Denpasar, Indonesia, 18 May 2002

The pros and cons of a phased approach to forest certification were the subject of debate during the 32nd session of the International Tropical Timber Council, which ended here today.

A phased or 'step-wise' approach has been advocated by some to allow applicants to make claims on their progress towards sustainable forests management as they improve operations but before they qualify for full certification status.

After substantial debate in the Council and a drafting group, the Council adopted a decision on the potential role of phased approaches to certification in tropical countries as a tool for promoting sustainable forest management. It authorized the Executive Director, Dr. Sobral, to commission a study to explore this potential role, and to convene three regional workshops to disseminate and discuss the results and implications of the study. Recommendations from the workshops will be reported to the Council next year.

The Council also encouraged its members to support project proposals for national capacity building to engage in forest certification in producer member countries, including institutional strengthening, stakeholder participation, auditing systems, training and better public understanding of the role of certification in sustainable forest management.

For more information contact: Mr Collins Ahadome, ITTO Secretariat; itto@itto.or.jp