MTCC hosted the MTCC Stakeholder Dialogue and Appreciation Event 2015 with the theme ‘Experiences Gained and the Way Forward for the MTCS’ on 28 July. The Dialogue aims to gather the perceptions, feedback and experiences of the Malaysian stakeholders regarding their involvement in the development and implementation of the MTCS; their recommendations for further improvement of the scheme; and their feedback on the proposal to streamline the MTCS standards for forest management certification. The Dialogue was concluded with an Appreciation Dinner to thank the Malaysian stakeholders for their contribution and continued support towards the work of the MTCC and the operation of the MTCS
More than 100 participants attended the Stakeholder Dialogue. They included representatives from the environmental and social interest groups; timber companies including certificate holders and timber associations; government agencies; as well as research and academic institutions.
The Dialogue was honoured to have Mr. Ben Gunneberg, PEFC Secretary General, to deliver a keynote address entitled “The Tipping Point for Asia”. Mr. Gunneberg commended MTCC’s leadership in promoting tropical timber certification, which has in turn inspired other countries in Asia such as China, Indonesia, Philippines, South Korea, Japan, Thailand and India to pursue sustainable forest management and PEFC certification. He emphasized that well-managed forest are vital for promoting and safe guarding rural livelihoods. Additionally, he highlighted that forest certification has proven to be an important tool in addressing issues relating to deforestation, illegal logging and ensuring good forest governance.
The Dialogue was divided into two sessions. Session 1 focused on “Feedback, experiences and recommendations of stakeholders on MTCS” and was conducted in the form of a panel discussion comprising 7 panelists:
- Puan Shashiah bt Abdul Karim, FMU Manager, Peninsular Malaysia
- Wong Ing Yung, FMU Manager, Sarawak
- Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ramy Bulan, Federation of Orang Ulu Association, Sarawak, Malaysia (FORUM)
- Omar Abdul Kadir, MNS Sabah
- Mohd. Khalid b. Atan, Timber Employees Union Peninsular Malaysia
- Richard Anning, Carl Ronnow (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd.
- Dr. Yap Son Kheong, Lead Auditor, SIRIM QAS International Sdn. Bhd.
The session was moderated by Dr. Henry Chan from WWF Malaysia. Among the key feedback received based on the presentations, as well as from the participants during the Q&A session were as follows:
- Forest management certification (FMC) did not result in a reasonable price premium for timber and timber products to commensurate with initiatives and activities undertaken to maintain certification
- It is costly to produce skilled and trained manpower to implement FMC
- The indigenous community felt that certification should have been implemented earlier and made mandatory to protect the indigenous peoples
- One way to ensure the recognition of traditional rights of communities is to have the forest certified by independent auditors
- There are challenges in the implementation of some social aspects related to interpretation of free prior and informed consent (FPIC) and worker rights under the ILO Conventions
- MTCS is more suited to state-wide FMU
- There is a need for information in the Removal Passes (RP) to be clearly presented
Among the key recommendations made were:
- Give incentives to encourage Forest Management Units (FMUs) to maintain their FMC
- Explore the possibility of implementing FMC at the operator level
- Conduct outreach programmes to increase awareness of FMC and SFM
- Be pragmatic and have a logical framework in developing MC&I
- Have a stricter control for forest conversion to other land-uses e.g. Latex timber clone plantation
- Have a more transparent process in determining the High Conservation Value (HCV) areas prior to demarcation
- Train certification bodies and auditors on the requirements of ILO Conventions
- Ensure the information contained in the removal passes are clear and precise
- Provide dedicated personnel at FMU or MTCC to handle enquiries on information recorded on removal passes
- Ensure FMU management have a better understanding of the requirements of the MC&I
Session 2 focused on “Streamlining Standards for Forest Management Certification under the MTCS.” It involved two presentations: i) ‘Proposed Process and Timelines for the Review of MC&I(Natural Forest)’ which highlights the key activities that would be conducted during the 2-year review process; and
ii) ‘Proposal for Merging the Natural Forest and Forest Plantation Standards’ which was presented by, the consultant, Mr. Chew Lye Teng. Mr. Chew was appointed to undertake the consultancy to explore the possibility of merging the two forest management certification standards currently used under the MTCS. He concluded that the two standards can be merged into a single document as approximately 85% of the Indicators have Verifiers which are common to both natural forest and forest plantation. The presentation also highlighted the benefits of merging the two standards particularly in terms of saving of time, human and financial resources of all parties involved in the standard review process. The dialogue concluded with the stakeholders in agreement that the two certification standards could be merged and streamlined into a single document in the upcoming review of the MC&I(Natural Forest) standard.
In conjunction with the Dialogue, an appreciation dinner was held to express our gratitude to all the Malaysian stakeholders for their significant contributions and continued support to the MTCS process. The Dinner was graced by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Y. Bhg. Datuk Himmat Singh. The highlight for the evening was a video presentation documenting the involvement and contribution of the Malaysian stakeholders in the development and operation of the MTCS, and the presentation of Certificate of Appreciation and mementos to Members of the Standards Review Committee (SRC) who were involved in the review of the MC&I(Forest Plantations).
From top right, clockwise: Session 1 – Panel discussion; Session 2 – Q&A session; Y. Bhg. Dato’ Dr. Freezailah Che Yeom, Chairman of MTCC presenting a souvenir to Y. Bhg. Datuk Himmat Singh; Secretary General of the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities; Ben Gunneberg presenting his keynote address