European forest certification scheme heads for summer launch

The Pan-European Forest Certification Scheme (PEFC) has decided on its launch procedure and will be effective before the summer, said chairman, Henri Plauche-Gillon, after a Steering group meeting in Oslo this week.

In practise, the Steering Group decisions mean that finally a forest certification system suitable especially to family-forest conditions predominant in Europe is finding its shape, says PEFC. Also other forest owners, such as forest companies, Government and municipalities can join the PEFC scheme without any discrimination. Principles and mechanisms of mutual recognition will also be in place to treat countries outside Europe equally.

So far, 15 European countries with millions of private forest owners and about 100 million ha of non-industrial forest area have participated in the PEFC process.

A workshop/seminar open to interested parties will be arranged in Würzburg Germany on 20-21 April 1999. The environmental organizations as well as other stakeholders will then have an opportunity to state their views on a Pan-European forest certification framework and to influence its contents.

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