SAC develops FSC Standard for Rwanda
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is currently managing the development and revision of country specific forest management standards across the globe in line with their revised Principles and Criteria, and international generic indicators. In countries which have no national standard development group, interim national standards (INS) are being developed with the help of certification bodies. Rwanda had no previous FSC standard of any sort, but with interest growing in forest certification, the Soil Association Certification Forestry team was assigned by FSC to develop an interim national standard.
Marie-Christine Fléchard, a Certification Manager for SAC Forestry, undertook the development of the standard whilst trialling the new FSC INS development procedure in May 2016. The process involved the recruitment of 2 local (Rwandan) experts to help with technical and legal issues, their training on FSC requirements - both remotely and in Rwanda - through a participatory pre-assessment certification process, collation and review of relevant national legislation and forest management guidelines, and collation and review of information on conservation areas and protected species. She also undertook a stakeholder consultation including research on indigenous populations, which was particularly challenging, as it is almost a taboo subject after the 1994 genocide. Following the collation of all the information, Marie-Christine adapted the FSC International Generic Indicators to meet the Rwandan situation and prepared all required annexes included in the FSC INS template.
The draft was then submitted to FSC for consideration. After going through the full standards approvals process, it was considered by FSC Policy and Standards Unit to be a robust standard well-tailored to the country and was approved in July 2017 with no conditions!