Thursday, 02 March 2017
Forest Stewardship Council Commends establishment of Canadian Working Group of Ministers to implement UNDRIP
MONTREAL, March 1, 2017 – The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Canada today commended the Canadian government's recent announcement to review the laws and policies related to its commitment to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), a document that describes both individual and collective rights of Indigenous peoples around the world based on the principles of equality, partnership, good faith and mutual respect.
The Forest Stewardship Council, the world’s leader in forest certification system, the only system that requires consultation with local Aboriginal Peoples with the intention of protecting their rights. FSC forest management requirements include an entire section dedicated to the rights of Aboriginal peoples (Principle 3), and are widely recognized as most extensive at specifically addressing the needs of Aboriginal Peoples. FSC is also committed to incorporating free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) into certification requirements with the goal of increasing meaningful and tangible benefits to Aboriginal peoples and the forest sector as a whole.
"The right of Indigenous Peoples to consent has been part of FSC Standards since 1994, however, its implementation and assessment have been inconsistent within Canada," said FSC Canada President François Dufresne. "We are excited about the prospect of showcasing our industry's longstanding leadership of collaboration with indigenous peoples and the implementation of UNDRIP principles within the Canadian Constitution and law."
FSC Canada is working towards effectively adapting the values of FPIC and strengthening forest certification requirements in its national Forest Management Standard. FSC Canada recently closed a second round of consultations of its National Forest Management standard representing leadership in forest management. The consultation process engaged many stakeholders and Indigenous communities. FSC Canada expects to release an FPIC Guidance document to assist certificate holders, Indigenous communities and stakeholders in understanding the application of Fee Prior Informed Consent later this year.
FSC in Canada
The presence of FSC in Canada has grown ever since becoming the largest country holding FSC certified forests, representing 30% of the FSC system globally. There are 54 million hectares of FSC-certified forests in Canada representing a 60% increase over the last five years. About 25% of the Canadian boreal forest under management (or commercial use) is FSC certified.
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