Sarawak pursuing international CoC in forest management — Hamden

Hon (second left) presenting a memento to Schriver in the presence of
others including Hamden (right).

Hon (second left) presenting a memento to Schriver in the presence of others including Hamden (right).

MIRI: Sarawak is on the right track in sustainable forest management and is seriously pursuing forest management certification including the international Chain of Custody (CoC) system.

Sarawak Forest Department acting director Hamden Mohamad said to date 24 forest timber licensees with about two million hectares had indicated their intention to be certified to comply with CoC.

“This is a positive trend as currently only two in Sarawak – the Forest Management Unit or FMU Anap Mupuk and planted forest had the CoC system.

“We want it a must for the big six timber companies in the state to have a least one of their forest management units to be certified together with all timber operations inside or partially inside the heart of Borneo area by July 2017,” he told the Borneo Post and Utusan Borneo yesterday.

He was met after opening a seminar entitled ‘Market Requirement for Timber and Timber Product Legality Affecting Companies in Sarawak: The Importance of Chain of Custody’, organised jointly by WWF-Malaysia, Forest Department Sarawak, Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC), and NEPCon.

Also present were regional manager NEPCon Malaysia, Christian Schriver, WWF Malaysia Sarawak Programme leader Dr Jason Hon, STIDC assistant general manager (Trade Control) Jerry Mawan Lading, and WWF Malaysia Responsible Forestry officer Samantha Liew.

Hamden added that although timber and timber products from Sarawak currently enjoyed strong international market demand especially from Japan, the needs for certification was important to maintain confidence of buyers.

“We don’t want our timber export value to continue dropping like last year when it was RM6.6 billion, a nine percent drop from 2014. Among the factors were that Japan reduced its timber import from Sarawak as they have their own local timber sources,” he said.

Earlier in his speech, he called for transformation in managing the state’s forest resources and the timber industry, adding that such transformation was through pursuing the forest certification.

“Managing the forest is a major concern by the global communities nowadays and the forest cover itself has been recognised as one of the mitigation measures to minimise the impacts of climate change. Therefore we need to align our forest management system in order to achieve this objective,” he stressed.

On the seminar, he said it was held to provide an overview of global trend that required verifying the timber legality, certification requirements as well as to understand the basic system in the CoC among the timber industries.

He said by addressing legality and the importance of CoC and certification issues, it would lead towards better acceptance and confidence of timber produced from Sarawak.

Earlier, Hon said the seminar received overwhelming response, with over 120 participants registered against 50 coming for a similar seminar held last year.

“We are indeed glad to be given the opportunity to jointly organise this seminar with our partners from FDS and STIDC. It shows that non-governmental organisations such as WWF, can have equally crucial roles in pushing for

greater sustainability in Sarawak’s timber industry,” he said.

He added the overwhelming response showed that certification and legality compliance for timber was being taken up more seriously adding that arising from last year’s seminar and the drive by government, more FMUs have now started their forest management certification processes as compared to two or three years ago.