Barcelona (Spain) and Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Bolivia): twinned cities for forests
Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Bolivia), March 28, 2008 - The "Twinning Agreement" between the Barcelona City Council and Municipal Government of Santa Cruz was celebrated during the 2008 Expoforest, the greatest wood fair in Bolivia held in Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Spain and Bolivia have joined together to preserve the future of forests, which are threatened by deforestation, climate change and illegal logging.
The seminar on "International Policies for the Responsible Purchase of Forest Products - Exchange Santa Cruz de la Sierra - Barcelona" was given on March 27th in Santa Cruz. In addition, a distinction was given on behalf of WWF, the global conservation organization, recognizing the efforts of both cities. This recognition took place in the Mayor's office earlier on the same day.
The initiative aims to facilitate the necessary technical support required to implement the "Responsible Purchase Policy" adopted by the Barcelona City Council in 2005, following recommendations made by WWF Spain, and which the Santa Cruz de la Sierra Municipality has also assumed, with WWF Bolivia, in July of last year.
This agreement, which is initially valid for three years, will gradually bring these two cities together regarding forestry issues. In addition, it will promote technical support, as well as commercial contacts between buyers form Spain and FSC certified Bolivian producers.
The responsible purchase of forest products is an opportunity for companies and institutions to become actively involved in protecting their forests by acquiring wood from a forest that is under sustainable management.
With the Twinning Agreement the two municipalities are committed with the conservation of their forests and FSC certification. In fact, on the one hand the Department of Santa Cruz already has certified forests, and its capital, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, also has a Responsible Purchase Policy recognized by WWF. And, the Barcelona City Council also develops a similar policy and works towards the responsible purchase of wood and wood products. With this type of measures, both cities want to preach by giving an example while at the same time reducing their impact on the environment and generating a demand for products that don’t destroy the forest.
Among the benefits of this agreement we can highlight:
- The City Council of Barcelona can learn from the experience in Bolivia, which has 2.2 million ha of certified native tropical forests.
- The Municipal Government of Santa Cruz de la Sierra will learn more about Barcelona’s experience regarding responsible public purchases of forest products.
- Both municipalities can make their commitment with forest conservation public. This is the first time a twinning of this kind (forest related) occurs between two municipalities, making it an ideal opportunity for authorities to show their commitment with forest conservation through the adoption of a Responsible Purchase Policy of forest products, showing their voluntary commitment.
The work plan to put the Twinning Agreement into practice entails a series of initiatives, beginning with the sharing of experiences between the Barcelona City Council and the Municipal Government of Santa Cruz de la Sierra regarding responsible purchases.
According to Mr. Félix Romero, Forest Coordinator for WWF Spain, “these initiatives are examples that, because of their positive impact on the conservation of the planet’s forests, should be imitated by other municipal governments”.
The municipal government of Santa Cruz de la Sierra at the forefront of forest conservation
The Municipality of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, led by Mr. Percy Fernández, issued in July 2007 the Administrative Resolution Nº 190/2007, which establishes a Responsible Purchase Policy for forest products, aiming to promote with the Municipal Government of Santa Cruz de la Sierra the consumption of forest products from legal sources, those under forest management and / or certified, in order to contribute to the conservation of the Department’s and country’s forests.
This Resolution provides continuity to the Municipal Ordinance dated May 30, 2006, which approved the Agreement of Cooperation for institutional support between the Municipal Government of Santa Cruz de la Sierra and WWF Bolivia; which in addition to the Responsible Purchase Policy contemplates the self-proclamation of the Municipality of Santa Cruz de la Sierra as the World Capital of Native Certified Tropical Forests and the creation of the future certification walkway in celebration of these commitments.
In order to comply with this municipal norm, WWF will assist the Municipality in the design, dissemination and monitoring of an Action Plan, establishing an appropriate methodology to monitor the progress in the execution and fulfillment of the Responsible Purchase Policy.
What is a Responsible Purchase Policy?
A Responsible Purchase Policy is one of the best mechanisms for a company or institution to become motivated and puts into practice the purchase of certified forest products or those from sustainably managed forests. This consists of an institutional declaration establishing the framework in order to apply environmental criteria in the selection of wood products under their acquisition plan. A good policy must precisely define all of the issues – related to the acquisition of wood products – that a company or institution intends to reorient, identifying the origin of forest products, their legal and sustainable origin, as well as issuing a declaration regarding the commitment of responsible consumption of forestry products.
Further information on:
FSC certification: www.fsc.org
WWF Bolivia: www.panda.org/bolivia
WWF Spain: www.wwf.es