The Success of FSC Implementation in Romania Depends on the Level of Stakeholders’ Involvement

FSC certification by itself cannot protect Romania’s forests, but it helps.

WWF-Romania has released a study which shows that the success of FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council) implementation on the local market is directly linked to the level of involvement of interested/affected stakeholders.

“Certification creates the framework for a structured dialogue between forest managers and interested or affected stakeholders. For better results, all parties should make considerable efforts: the former should help the interested or affected stakeholders get involved more actively, while the latter should make the effort to analyse all available information related to the management plan and the requirements of the certification standards” – Serban Niculescu, forest expert at WWF Romania.

The WWF study monitors the stakeholders’ method and level of involvement in the FSC forest management certification process. Its goal is to identify the main challenges stakeholders/affected parties face when trying to get involved properly and to find the best solutions.

The current context in Romania is defined by the lack of a coherent national forest policy vision, over-politicisation, over-regulation, lack of financial mechanisms to compensate owners who face restrictions due to environmental or social protection, and by the lack of adequate infrastructure for forest management. All these create major problems in the process of managing our extremely valuable natural resource, the forest.

Considering this context, it is important to manage our expectations and admit that FSC certification by itself cannot protect Romania’s forests. A variety of additional forest policies and conservation strategies are needed.

Although FSC is not the answer to all the problems related to the current forest crisis, we believe voluntary mechanisms can be very effective in promoting responsible practices that make sure local communities and all interested parties are properly involved. We also believe in developing management strategies and in evaluating how the forests are managed. This requires continuous improvements to strengthen the way FSC certification works. Therefore, the first and most important step is for all relevant stakeholders to get more actively and properly involved in the entire process.

The study also points out that the FSC certification is perceived as having a real, positive impact on supporting responsible forest management in Romania. For better results, in the sense of improving the efficiency of these voluntary mechanisms, it is essential to increase the level of stakeholder/affected party involvement over the course of the entire process. This can be done by developing management strategies coordinated by the forest administration, instituting mechanisms to settle complaints and notifications, and through improving the certification body’s independent evaluating/auditing process. The efforts of forest managers must be sustained by the efforts of all the relevant stakeholders /affected parties.

For more information:
Magda Munteanu
Senior Communications Specialist,
Tel:  +40 21 317 49 96