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by lei | Apr 2, 2004 | News, Notes | 0 comments

(By: Irwan Gunawan and Aditya Bayunanda):

What is ecolabel certification? Ecolabel certification (hereinafter referred to as “certification” in this paper) is a market-based instrument as an acknowledgment of good (sustainable) forest management practices. It is hoped that good forest management practices can meet certain management standards for ecological, economic and social aspects. The referred forest management standards are developed by an independent third party and the drafting process must comply with the principles of transparency, being accountable and involving relevant parties (government, NGOs, academia, business entities and direct community representatives).

The implementation of certification refers to a system consisting of standards, procedures, minimum requirements and guidelines for certification decision making. Obviously, a comprehensive certification system must contain

(1) a set of criteria and indicators used as a reference in the process of evaluating the performance of a forest management unit;

(2) procedures governing the certification process;

(3) Minimum requirements for implementing certification; and,

(4) an accountable academic method for making certification decisions.

In Indonesia, there is the Indonesian Ecolabeling Institute (LEI) – a not for profit organization – which functions as an accreditation body, a certification system developer and prepares all the infrastructure needed for the implementation of certification. Initially, this initiative took the form of a working group consisting of individuals from academia, government, NGOs, and entrepreneurs chaired by Prof. Emil Salim, then developed into an institution in early 1998. To maintain the credibility of the certification system that was built, a Certification Advisory Board (DPS) was formed, consisting of individuals whose credibility and independence had been tested (even from LEI). The function of this DPS is to verify objections raised by the public against a certification decision.

In addition, a Regional Communication Forum (FKD) was formed, which is a multi-stakeholder forum in the regions whose role is expected not only to be involved in the certification process, but more broadly than that, to become a representative forum for discussing natural resource management at the local level. Why should a certification system be developed for community based forests? Certification initiatives for community-based forests are an opportunity to expand community forest management access to more economically valuable international markets.

A certificate for community-based forest management can provide an enormous boost to the recognition and publicity process for the management unit concerned, even though the management unit is marginalized by the central government. The publicity that is triggered by certification can even attract other institutions at the national and international levels to study other related aspects. In essence, certification reaches a very broad public list from national to international levels and is not only limited to eco-sensitive consumers.

To date, there are approximately 2 (two) million hectares of community-based forest in the world that have received certificates. However, overall the community-based forest management unit is still concentrating on wood products. The form of the management organization also varies greatly. They range from simple 286 ha in Costa Rica to advanced management organizations such as the Menominee Tribal Enterprise in the United States. For the Indonesian context, LEI has developed a certification system for Sustainable Community Based Forest Management (PHBML). This system was built from the spirit of encouraging the recognition of CBFM in Indonesia at the international level. However, the unique and diverse characteristics of CBFM require the development of a certification system capable of adopting this uniqueness and diversity.

Thus, in the developed PHBML certification system, a certification system that is different in approach will be found with the certification system for Sustainable Production Natural Forest Management (PHAPL) and Sustainable Plantation Forest Management (PHTL). Not a few people who are half-hearted with this initiative see the situation of PHBM in Indonesia which is still not conducive to the implementation of certification. For example, that some parties do not have a uniform view on CBFM or the government’s reluctance to be more serious in promoting CBFM as a model for future forest management. Apart from the debate about whether or not certification for PHBM is needed, the “starting point” for CBFM certification must be made

  1. Certification is submitted by a credible independent institution, which can be in the form of NGOs, research institutions, or other competent institutions. This independent institution – with written approval from the forest management community – then submits a report that is effective and effective on the performance of the proposed CBFM unit, then this report is sufficiently verified by a panel of experts appointed by a certification body. However, this model certification is only intended for PHBM which has been proven, either by time or through scientific studies, to show good performance in preserving forest functions. Although there are differences in the parties who become the applicant / applicant for certification, between model I and model II, the main principle held in this process is voluntary-based on the part of the manager, both as the applicant and as the approver. Likewise with applicants who come from third parties, this principle of volunteerism is still used as a basis for action. The different models in forest resource certification also have implications for the age of certification (the age of validity of the certificate given if a management unit or community group is declared “passed”), taking into account the factors of certification funding, and the development of a silvicultural system that concerns plant types and systems. logging. Can ecolabel certification work for community based forests? Returning to the title of this paper, can certification work for community-based forests? The answer lies in the role of all parties related to community-based forest management in Indonesia.

This is because the implementation of PHBML certification has not been completed in the development of its certification system. However, what needs to be considered further is the preparation of other important components, such as institutional preparation and improving the performance of forest management communities, relations with international markets, and certification financing. In addition, time is also needed to socialize the PHBML certification system, prepare field assessors, expert panels and credible certification bodies. For this reason, since May 2002 LEI has been working on a Pilot Project for this PHBML certification. In this pilot project program, LEI collaborates with KpSHK, AMAN, WWF, SHK Kaltim, ARuPA and Persepsi. It is hoped that this Pilot Project can answer the big questions that are the title of this paper.