Recently Uganda’s NFSS was approved and launched by the FSC and the minister of water and Environment on 27th April 2018 and 6th June 2018, respectively. It became effective since 1st September 2018This is a great achievement as it puts Uganda in the 1st and 8th country in Africa and the world to have an NFSS, respectively.
Notable is that the NFSS development process in Uganda started in 2013. The process was highly consultative involving active participation of various stakeholders based on their mandates, roles and responsibilities including both the duty bearers and rights holders. It was guided by the FSC principles and procedures in this respect. Thus, the process was led by the Standards Development Group (SDG) – Uganda that comprised of members (i.e. forestry sector stakeholders) categorized based on the 3 chambers of Environment, Social and Economic. These were selected from the NFSS National Consultative Forum Members. The forum provided space at the national levels for consultation and soliciting stakeholder’s views and concerns on several drafts of the NFSS as part of the processes.
The role for spearheading the development of the NFSS in Uganda was delegated to the SDG-Uganda by the Uganda Forestry Working Group (UFWG). The SDG-Uganda selected their leaders comprises of the Chairman and Vice Chairman and these ensure that the process was on course and meeting all the FSC requirements and principles.
They were regularly and routinely supported by the SDG-Uganda Secretariat hosted at Environmental Alert. The Secretariat mobilized and coordinated stakeholder participation in the process. Besides, working with partners they mobilized resources to support implementation of the agreed actions as part of the process.
The process in Uganda from inception up to completion was supported and funded through contributions by the following partners: WWF-Uganda Country Office, Environmental Alert, Care International in Uganda, Global woods, Forest Stewardship Council, SDG-Uganda members, Uganda Timber Grower’s Association, Havilah Company ltd, the Forest Sector Support Department, The Ministers of Environment, Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda, …).
The NFSS augments existing forest policy and legislation for sustainable forest management. For instance, the National Forestry Policy (2001) provides for working towards sustainable forest management in Uganda. Policy statements numbers 1 – 4 directly address issues of sustainable forest management. The policy statements provide for the following implementation strategies that address sustainable forest management and harvesting standards, criteria and indicators:
i. Develop codes of conduct and standards, and the development of criteria and indicators that can be applied to forest certification;
ii. Develop standards of best practice for commercial plantations and disseminate these to the private sector;
iii. Improve the regulation of concessions including the development of harvesting and processing standards.
The Standard was approved and officially launched by the FSC Director General Kim Carstensen and the Honorable Minister for Water and Environment of the Republic of Uganda, Mr. Sam Cheptoris, who congratulated FSC and the Standard Development Group for developing the standard and pledged the government’s support to ensure its implementation. The standard came into use effective 1st September, 2018.
Implementation of the standard is already ongoing particularly by the private sector i.e. the timber plantation companies. Others like the Uganda Timber Grower’s Association in collaboration with the WWF-UCO are applying the standard to inform group certification process by smallholders.
On 27th March, 2019 The Standards Development Group Secretariat (Environmental Alert) organized a one-day National Stakeholder’s Dialogue at Hotel Africana, Kampala. The main purpose of the dialogue was to engage with all sector stakeholders to deliberate and develop a roadmap for supporting the implementation or operationalization of Uganda’s NFSS.
Albeit the development of the draft roadmap, it was thought important to have a team of members of the Standards Development Group come together and build up more content into the draft roadmap to understand the issues and how the recommendations from the previous dialogue can be more targeted actionable. This dialogue shall also be used as an opportunity to guide and make early decision on the new institutional format of the Standards Development Group and the National Consultative Forum.
It is on this basis, therefore, that Environmental Alert with support from FSC is organizing this event with the core members of the Standards Development Group.
The specific objectives of the proposed stakeholder’s Dialogue
The main purpose of the workshop is to meet with all the key stakeholders to build up more content into the draft roadmap to understand the issues and how the recommendations from the previous dialogue can be more targeted actionable and also use it as an opportunity to guide and make early decision on the new institutional format of the Standards Development Group and the National Consultative Forum
Date for the dialogue
The dialogue is scheduled for 12th July 2019 at Eureka hotel