THE PEFC global family gathered in Wurzburg, Germany, last week for Forest Certification Week and the PEFC 24th General Assembly.

Peter Latham, PEFC International Chair, Ben Gunneberg, CEO. and PEFC International board member Suzette Weeding, with Dr Hans Drielsma AM, Responsible Wood Chair, and Katie Fowden, Responsible Wood board member

PEFC Week, from November 11 to 15, has grown as one of the most important annual public dialogues on the future of forest certification and sustainable forest management: the PEFC Stakeholder Dialogue.

Under the theme, Certification and Sustainability: from Niche to Mainstream, the dialogue looked to the future and where the next 20 years will take PEFC.

The PEFC general assembly welcomed its 52nd and 53rd national members Ukraine and Guyana into the alliance.

“We are very happy to see the PEFC family growing further and we are looking forward to working together with Ukraine and Guyana,” PEFC International CEO Ben Gunneberg said.

Ukraine, on a border with Russia, is one of the largest countries in Europe and 15.6% of land – 10.4 million ha – is covered by forests.

Mariya Maha from the Association National Voluntary Forest Certification System, said PEFC would support establishing and implementing a national forest standard for Ukraine. “The reputation of PEFC will help us to increase the trust level of forest workers, and build a strong cooperation with all stakeholders to eliminate the risks to our forests,” she said.

The Guyana Forestry Commission  is leading the implementation of the voluntary partnership agreement (VPA), a trade agreement between Guyana and the European Union.

The collaboration between PEFC and local stakeholders in Guyana began in 2015, supported by the PEFC collaboration fund.

Guyana, on the northern mainland of South America, has one of the largest unspoiled rainforests on the continent, some parts of which are almost inaccessible by humans.

“In a joint project with CIRAD, we have worked in the region to generate new knowledge on the long-term impacts of timber extraction on both carbon stocks and timber recovery in the humid tropics,” Ben Gunneberg said.

“The results from the project will feed in to the development process of a national sustainable forest management system in Guyana.

Both the Association National Voluntary Forest Certification System and Guyana Forestry Commission seek to develop a national system in the near future.

Ukraine and Guyana are not the only national members that have joined the PEFC alliance this year. In June, PEFC welcomed the Vietnam Forest Certification System (VFCS) and the Myanmar Forest Certification Committee (MFCC) as the 50th and 51st national members,