Progress towards establishment of National Timber Certification Council in Nigeria
On 20 January 2018, with the directional help of Remi Sournia, Projects & Development Officer at PEFC, the Nigerian hardwood trading company BlackCamel Energy Ltd organised the first National Stakeholders information meeting on Sustainable Forest Management in Nigeria through certification at Nandas Hotel, Sagamu, Nigeria.
At the meeting, Joseph Olajide, Chairman of BlackCamel Energy Ltd, informed the stakeholders on the critical situation of Nigeria's forests affected by widespread illegal logging and endangered woods' trading.
The meeting's attendees unanimously agreed that Nigeria needs a National Timber Certification Council that will help in managing and certifying the country's forest. Details of the pledge were laid out in a letter to the Nigerian Minister of Environment, available here.
"The awareness of the need for sustainable forest management is worldwide but agreement on the potential role of timber certification in achieving this goal is by no means equally widespread," the briefing underlines.
"Any viable timber certification scheme will need to be seen to be credible, objective with measurable criteria, reliable and independent and, most important, covering all types of timber."
"Participation must be voluntary, non-discriminatory in nature and adaptable to local conditions, cost effective, practical and transparent. So far, timber and forest products certification has not been applied on a wide enough basis to prove its practicality in application, its effect on the market or its contribution to good stewardship of the forest. The issue remains highly political in nature and will no doubt continue to be a subject of active international and intergovernmental debate for some time before a solution is found."
Finally, the meeting's attendees also committed to form a Forest Product Association of Nigeria (FPAN) with the aim of checking all activities of forest users and promoting Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) across the country. All FPAN members will actively engage in tree planting to be monitored by the Forestry Institute of Nigeria (FRIN).
According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), less than 10% of Nigeria’s land is now covered by forests and only 20,000 hectares of the country’s primary forests remain. There have been high rates of deforestation in the country; the annual rate was 5% between 2010 and 2015. Find out more here.