The Observatory of Central African Forests (OFAC) has released a policy brief to encourage legally sourced wood in government procurement contracts in Central Africa. According to the publication, the States and their development partners account for a large part of the local wood demand through government contracts, which do not necessary specify a legal sourcing or a sustainability clause. “To date, Cameroon is the only country that has required legally sourced lumber to be specified in the public calls for tender”, states the document.
A previous study shows that local forest policies focus on the large-scale, export-oriented industrial forest sector. The research suggests that these policies overlook the small-scale logging for the domestic market, which is normally informal and illegal, and negatively impacts the environment. No official data are collected to assess this sector’s economic, environmental and social impacts.
This strategy sets different steps that should be followed. First, governments in the producing countries need to require legally sourced wood for all public contracts, and offer financial and technical incentives for the use of legally sourced wood. Second, partners need to define legal sourcing procurement standards to qualify for support to development projects. Finally, businesses need to incorporate requirements of legally sourced wood into their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategies.
“Considering the implementation of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) and the growing interest in promoting intra-African timber trade, it should be a priority for COMIFAC Member States to urgently prepare and adopt public procurement policies that impose and promote timber from legal sources”, says the policy brief.
GTTN recently organized its Regional Workshop in Younde, Cameroon to increase awareness amongst African stakeholders from the field of research, government and non-governmental institutions, development partners, and the private sector about the growing potential of timber tracking techniques to help curb illegal logging.
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