This week marks the one-year anniversary of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)’s adoption of its commitment to protect Intact Forest Landscapes (IFLs). The decision was made – some entertainment thrown in – at the last FSC General Assembly (GA) in Spain, under the rather unglamorous name of Motion 65.
Motion 65 – which commits to the protection of “the vast majority” of intact forests within FSC managed tenures – was proposed by Greenpeace. We came to the GA with the hope that we could convince other members just how important it is to protect the world’s last original forests unencumbered by industrial development. And in true Greenpeace style, we brought props! We blanketed members with IFL leaves from forests around the world, served up IFL-inspired cocktails, and distributed flamenco IFL forest fans to cool off with.
But FSC members understood it right away – to be the most robust forest certification system, FSC must provide protection for the last forest undisturbed by industrial development, while respecting the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of the people who live in those forests. The input from members of the Permanent Indigenous Peoples Committee, and the social and economic chamber, help turn Motion 65 from a concept into a robust approach.
Over 90% of member supported Motion 65, and after the Motion was accepted, FSC Executive Director Kim Carstensen interrupted the assembly proceeding to mark the moment.
It is heartening that FSC understands this critical issue, and is committed to taking action. In a recent interview, Kim Carstensen and Greenpeace Executive Director, Kumi Naidoo, discussed the importance of protecting intact forests for the well being of people, wildlife and our climate.
Not only do IFLs provide a home for millions of indigenous people and traditional communities around the world, who depend on them forest for livelihoods, but they are critical to preventing biodiversity loss, conserving endangered species and providing vital ecosystem services such as filtering and cycling our water and air. Finally, by storing a higher proportion of carbon than other forests, IFLs are essential in our fight against climate change.
FSC will implement its new approach to IFL protection by the end of 2016, and this will play a major role in protecting forests in key regions like Canada, the Congo Basin, and the Amazon. I am proud to be part of this initiative – proud to be part of FSC at its best.
Judy Rodrigues is a Senior Forest Campaigner for Greenpeace International.
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