FAO-EU FLEGT Programme

Colombian enterprises strengthen processes for legal timber use


A total of 31 Colombian enterprises have benefited from the project developed between the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme and FEDEMADERAS for incorporating processes for legality verification and gender equity.

In the last eight months, 31 Colombian timber processing and end-product enterprises have strengthened their administrative and production processes by incorporating the principle of timber legality verification and gender focus.

With a total of 1,518 employees, the enterprises have received training in operational and administrative processes for legal timber use and business management incorporating a gender perspective. Twenty-one percent of the participants were women, 28 from operations and 292 from administrative and human resources areas.

“The forestry sector in Colombia is a sleeping giant in the peace process. We must seize this opportunity to consolidate a stable, lasting peace, and it is therefore vital to involve civil society to increase the per capita consumption of timber in the country”, pointed out Iván León, National Programme Officer of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Colombia. 

Eighty-one percent of the participating enterprises are affiliated to FEDEMADERAS (Colombian National Federation of Wood Industries) and the advice they have received was the result of an agreement with the FAO, through its FAO-EU Forest law enforcement, governance and trade (FLEGT) Programme, funded by the European Union, the Governments of Sweden and the United Kingdom, and FAO. In Colombia the FAO-EU FLEGT programme has as its strategic partners the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, CARDER (Regional Autonomous Corporation of Risaralda), CORPOAMAZONIA (Sustainable Development Corporation of Southern Amazonia) and other regional environmental authorities, the governorship of Chocó, FEDEMADERAS, Fiduagraria, Banco Agrario and representatives of local ethnic communities belonging to the mesas forestales of Chocó and Putumayo departments, among others. 

Javier Rico, an operator affiliated to FEDEMADERAS, observed that “the myth is being discredited that anyone who works with wood is not working for the environment”, adding that “the private sector contributes to the environment and works for its benefit”. 

Alejandra Ospitia, Executive Director of FEDEMADERAS, stressed that “the forests in Colombia that are sustainably managed create wealth and peace”, going on to say that “the private sector in Colombia is constructing a legal market with gender equity for the benefit of the country, the environment, the tax authorities and local ethnic communities”. 

The process of strengthening enterprises included holding two experience exchange meetings in Chocó and Amazonas departments. The programme thus helped to set up two exchange meetings and provide business opportunities between native forest owners and processing and product operators, strengthening the legal timber market and creating an economic culture of legal timber.

Exchanges took place with Banco Agrario and Fiduagraria with 20 producers, suppliers and timber producers, where opportunities were examined for getting involved in business schemes and additional financial activity.

Rubén Darío Moreno of CARDER stated that “there is still much to be done in the forestry sector and there is the opportunity to rethink the country’s forestry model,” adding that “the forests are an opportunity for peace, and provide settings for implementing it in the territories”.

The process of exchanging experiences and training in legal timber use has also generated a supply and demand market for legal timber between urban enterprises dealing in native forest products, and native forest owners and operators, and supply is therefore being organized on the legal market, along with a clear desire among several of the beneficiary enterprises that, after this project, they wish to continue with the process to gain Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, which demonstrates sustainable forestry management.

This process also involved support for the participation of officials from regional public bodies with experience of sustainable use, legal timber, certification and forestry management schemes in the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala. During their visit, the attendees highlighted the importance of the sustainable use and management of native forest which legally generates added value, and agreed that FSC certification allows access to sophisticated international markets.

Nhaydú Bohórquez, the FAO-EU FLEGT programme focal point in the region, stressed that “a project is closing down today, but the process continues towards legality with gender equity in the forestry sector in Colombia. This initiative has generated a collective determination in the private sector, national government and local producer communities in Amazonia and Chocó. FAO will continue to support them through its FAO-EU FLEGT Programme so that our small actions can, as we can see today, snowball little by little into a greater whole”.
Further information:
Revista Fedemaderas (Fedemaderas Journal)

Originally published by FAO Colombia at http://www.fao.org/colombia/noticias/detail-events/es/c/888971/