By the time the FSC® General Assembly wrapped up in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, this past week, 27 motions had been passed and 11 failed amidst intense debate. No matter how heated the proceedings, though, general consensus was reached on at least one issue: the reinforced need for increased FSC certification to reduce deforestation around the globe.

With our voice in all three of the GA chambers – social, environmental and economic – all motions were of interest to Ecotrust Canada. Of particular note, though, was Motion 19: ‘Establishment of a Permanent Indigenous Peoples’ Committee to Strengthen Indigenous Peoples’ Involvement in FSC®. Brought forward by Brad Young, from Canada’s National Aboriginal Forestry Association, and BC’s Larry Joseph, a member of the Frog Clan of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, we voted strongly in favour of this motion as it clearly promotes Indigenous Peoples Rights, and is a core belief of the Forest Stewardship Council.

Aboriginal communities are currently underrepresented in the FSC® system, yet we need a strong Aboriginal committee to assist communities with the tools and resources required to respond to forest companies seeking FSC certification and to aid in the certification of forests managed by Aboriginals. This group could clearly enhance and help streamline the certification process in British Columbia. The GA voted overwhelmingly in agreement, with the motion strongly supported by all three chambers.

To read more about the other 37 motions tabled, read the FSC® Update (PDF).

Overall, the 2011 FSC® General Assembly was an incredible success, allowing for great partnership building, increased recognition of Ecotrust Canada and the work we’re doing, the creation of a direct link to FSC® International, and encouraging worldwide excitement for sustainable forest management worldwide. Most importantly, the decisions taken at the FSC® General Assembly will work to make sure that the forest and its ecosystem are protected for the benefit of present and future generations.
Final reflections 
The 2011 FSC® General Assembly created a great opportunity for Ecotrust Canada to:
  • Collaborate, and discuss FSC® Group certification, with other Groups around the world;
  • Develop partnerships with many other organizations in countries such as the United States, Mexico, Brazil, India, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Argentina, and a number of countries within Europe;
  • Support the creation of the International Indigenous Peoples’ Committee;
  • Discuss challenges with the uptake of woodlots and community forests in British Columbia and promote improvements to facilitate increased certification;
  • Be actively involved and help direct the development of FSC® certification;
  • Build worldwide market connection for our own country’s sustainably managed forests products.
Did you know?
The logo used for the 2011 FSC® General Assembly (and for these blog posts) was designed to resemble the Rhinoceros Hornbill, a well-known bird living in the Malay Peninsula, Singapore, Sumatra, Java, and Borneo. The bird is an example of the direct impact that FSC has on biodiversity and, by implication, the suggestion that everything is connected. As they describe it: “The forest needs the hornbills to spread seeds, the hornbills need the forest to live and the people need the forest for wood.” More than this, “The bright colours and overall friendliness of the logo represent the dynamism and enthusiasm of the FSC® members and their genuine commitment to making a difference in the world’s forests.”
Previous blog posts from the FSC General Assembly:
by: Orrin Quinn and Belinda Rose-Innes