News  |  29.01.2021

ATIBT CONGO : A new project with the support of the British cooperation

A contract to support private sector involvement in the FLEGT VPA process in the Republic of Congo was signed on January 12, 2021 between EFI (under FCDO funding) and ATIBT.

ATIBT CONGO : A new project with the support of the British cooperation

With the aim of improving the sustainable management of its forest resources, the Republic of Congo embarked in 2008 on the negotiation of a FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union. The agreement officially entered into force on 1 March 2013.

In Congo, the private forestry sector is particularly heterogeneous. There is a diversity of foreign-owned operators, from the North to the South of Congo, implementing profoundly different business strategies, ranging from third-party certification of sustainable management to the absence of a forest management plan (the first step towards sustainable and legal management). Alongside these operators with foreign capital, national operators are trying to find their place in the same export-oriented timber markets. The artisanal sector supplying the national market is generally informal, yet it is said to account for nearly 15% of the volumes of logs produced by forest concessionaires. Faced with such a disparity of operators, the trade union representations in Congo, UNICONGO and UNIBOIS, are trying to mobilize their members and represent the entire private sector in Congo and to speak with one voice on the major issues and developments in the sector. The Association Technique Internationale des Bois Tropicaux (ATIBT) has been working alongside the trade union representatives in Congo since 2014.

The major challenges for the year 2021 for the private sector include :

  • The implementation of the SIVL (creation of the on-line accounts of the companies, but also all that is upstream of the software: the collection of the good information)
  • The implementation of the new forestry code and the law on production sharing
  • The implementation of the new forestry law ;

Since 2018, ATIBT has opened offices to carry out consultation and information activities as close to the field as possible to the Congolese private forestry sector with the support of several international donors (FAO, EU, FFEM, PPECF).

Within this framework, FCDO is supporting ATIBT Congo for 4 months from January to April 2021 for the following activities :

Activity 1.1 : Maintaining Relationships with Unions, Companies and Inter-Union Relationships

Within the framework of this activity :

  • A collaboration agreement is being discussed and finalized with UNICONGO
  • Discussions with UNIBOIS and non-affiliated companies will be conducted (including surveys)
  • Synergies between unions will be encouraged through other activities

Activity 2.1 : Define an information and regulatory monitoring mechanism common to the entire sector

As part of this activity, work will be carried out between UNIBOIS, UNICONGO and ATIBT to update the contact directory of companies, partners and stakeholders of the VPA Congo. ATIBT will build on its experience and existing written monitoring mechanisms. It will work with UNIBOIS and UNICONGO in order to have a monitoring mechanism involving them and their dissemination channels.

Activity 2.2 : Implementation of informational and regulatory monitoring through the dissemination and communication of key elements over the project period.

ATIBT will therefore continue its current monitoring role while involving UNIBOIS and UNICONGO.

The targeted channels will be :

  • Mails based on the updated mailing list
  • Telephone and WhatsApp
  • ATIBT Newsletter and ATIBT website

UNICONGO website and its gazette ;

  • The Direction of Communication and Extension of the MEF will be able to relay the articles of the private sector if it wishes it or to call upon ATIBT for elements concerning the companies and professional Associations within the framework of the APV communication.

Activity 3.1 : Conduct advocacy of the private sector as a whole (affiliates and non-affiliates) to contribute to the process of developing implementing texts and the normative framework of Law 33-2020.

The ATIBT will continue the ongoing activities of monitoring the forestry code and the application texts. 

It will support the professional associations and companies to get involved in the ongoing studies, in particular :

  • The FRMI study on production sharing
  • The EFI study to prepare the application texts
  • Other approaches that could be put in place.

Within the framework of this advocacy, ATIBT will report on the evolution of the legal framework (Law 33-2020 and its regulatory framework) to trade unions and companies and will accompany them on the modalities and actions to be taken to comply with it.

Activity 3.2 : Stimulate and support stakeholders in the implementation of decisions and on the tools developed in the framework of the LAS

Within the framework of this activity, the ATIBT will :

  • ensure the implementation of the roadmap of the certification recognition manual in the LAS
  • create synergies with the DLFT project financed by the FAO-EU-FLEGT program in order to support companies in the implementation of the SIVL


 Alain Tiotsop

Caroline Duhesme

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