The need to develop a standard for certification of forest plantations was discussed by the various meetings of the multi-stakeholder National Steering Committee (NSC) beginning at its Fourth Meeting held on 25-26 January 2002. The NSC recommended that a national workshop be convened to ascertain the level of interest and urgency from the relevant stakeholders to develop such a standard, as well as to discuss the way forward. It is the intention of the MTCC to use this standard in assessing forest plantations for the purpose of forest management certification under the MTCC scheme.
Subsequently, a one-day National Workshop on Standard for Certification of Plantation Forests was held in Kuala Lumpur 31 October 2002. The Workshop was attended by 129 participants representing all the stakeholder groups in Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia, including many from the plantation industry.
The Workshop generated substantial discussion on the approach to be adopted in formulating the plantation standard and in charting the way forward. Among others, the Workshop recommended that a Technical Working Group (TWG) be formed to draft the plantation standard, utilising Principles 1-10 and Criteria of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC P&C) as the template. The Sixth Meeting of the NSC held on 12 June 2003 agreed that a 12-member TWG with balanced representation by stakeholder groups and regions be formed to draft the standard. Through regional consultations, the 12-member TWG was formed and was mandated by the Ninth Meeting of the NSC held on 16 February 2006 to develop the draft standard.
To facilitate the work of the TWG, a consultant was appointed in April 2006 to prepare a Working Document of the draft standard. The Working Document prepared by the consultant was subjected to a review by an expert group comprising of plantation practitioners and experts in May 2006, prior to the document being submitted for the consideration of the TWG.
Utilising the Working Document prepared by the consultant, the TWG met twice, i.e. on 5-6 July and 7 August 2006, to deliberate and formulate the first draft of the MC&I(Forest Plantations). This first draft was subsequently subjected to further deliberation by the stakeholders in the three regions of Malaysia i.e. on 18-19 September 2006 in Sarawak, 11-12 October 2006 in Sabah and 15-16 November 2006 in Peninsular Malaysia.
As a result of the regional consultations, the Indicators and Verifiers of the draft MC&I(Forest Plantations) for the three regions were finalised. The Third Meeting of the TWG held on 7 February 2007 further considered the various amendments made at the regional consultations (which included the proposed deletion of three Criteria) with a view to consolidate and streamline these amendments into a national standard.
The outcome of the three regional consultations and the recommendations of the Third Meeting of the TWG were considered by the Tenth Meeting of the NSC held on 27 March 2007. Among others, the NSC concurred with the recommendations of the TWG to retain two of the Criteria recommended for deletion (with amendments) and further streamlined the wording of some of the Principles in view of the fact that the MC&I(Forest Plantations) no longer follows fully the FSC P&C as the template. The Meeting also agreed that the revised draft MC&I(Forest Plantations) be subject to public comments over a 60-day period in line with the international norm for standard setting process.
CALL FOR PUBLIC COMMENTS
In accordance with the timeline for the development of the MC&I(Forest Plantations), the NSC Secretariat is now subjecting the Draft MC&I(Forest Plantations) for public comment over a 60-day period, i.e. from 30 April – 30 June 2007.
The NSC Secretariat therefore welcomes comments from all stakeholder groups on the Draft MC&I(Forest Plantations). Comments can be submitted via e-mail, standard mail or facsimile to Mr. Yong Teng Koon (contact information below). All comments received will be taken into consideration in the finalisation of the draft standard.
Yong Teng Koon
c/o Malaysian Timber Certification Council
19 F, Level 19, Tower 1, Menara PGRM
No. 8, Jalan Pudu Ulu, Cheras
56100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel. : 603-92005008
Faks : 603-92006008