Fauna and Flora international (FFI) carried out a rapid assessment of the opportunities and challenges for community forest holders to obtain independent certification. The assessment was part of The FFI Myanmar Community Forestry Programme, which at the time of the assessment supported over 60 Forest User Groups in Kachin State, and Magwe, Ayeyarwady and Tanintharyi Regions.
The assessment (“Rapid Assessment of Options for Independent Sustainability Certification for Community Forestry in Myanmar“) examined several options for independent certification of community forests and considered the suitability of either PEFC or FSC in the context of nationally recognised community forest management in Myanmar. Findings were developed following a rapid field assessment in two forest user group networks.
Whilst FFI concluded that, at least in the case study sites, certification for both Forest Stewardship Council (FCS) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) would have at the time cost more than the benefits it would bring to smallholders, certification of forest management units would become an important monitoring pillar to ensure compliance with internationally accepted standards, and that an external review of an FSC or PEFC compliant Community Forestry pilot could provide an unbiased contribution to those processes.
Finally, whilst application of the standards under both FSC and PEFC would help improve the quality of Community Forestry in Myanmar, FFI’s initial suggestions was that certification under PEFC may be more appropriate as it provides a very clear focus on smallholder forest management.
Certification concepts and FFI’s initial findings were presented in a roundtable meeting in Yangon in 2015 hosted jointly with EcoDev and the Myanmar Timber Merchants Association, and attended by RECOFTC, Myanmar Forest Certification Committee, World Conservation Union and other stakeholders.