The partnership between the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and WWF/GFTN aims to link efforts to increase responsibly managed forests in the Green Heart of Africa — the world’s second largest tropical forest and a key supplier of tropical timber to the European Union and China, and indirectly to EU and North American markets — to our efforts to tip the global timber market. Linking these efforts together is critical because stronger forest management and elimination of illegal logging in Africa is a prerequisite for selling into the US and EU markets, with the US Lacey Act, FLEGT Action Plan and the upcoming EU Timber Regulation, which will take effect in March 2013.
Under this partnership, one of WWF’s key role is to engage current or potential major buyers of forest products to develop responsible purchasing regimens and match them to responsible producers. Addressing market forces in destination markets can help drive responsible forest management in the Green Heart of Africa, and that responsible forest management in turn will help drive environmental and social impacts. Independent, multi stakeholder-based forest certification that is internationally recognized yet regionally/nationally adapted will help ensure the reduction of negative environmental and social impacts from the production of forest products as well as infusing the principles of responsible forest management and trade practices throughout the supply chain. The partnership’s model directly recognizes and engages the market forces that are significant for sustainable production in Africa.