Bulgaria joins the PEFC alliance
“The benefit of PEFC is that we are responsible for the development of our own national forest certification system,” said Antony Stefanov, from the Council for Sustainable Forest Management and Certification in Bulgaria. “This means we can ensure that our specific needs are taken into account, which is particularly important for our many small- and family-forest owners.” “We are delighted to have been accepted into the PEFC alliance,” Stefanov continued, following the acceptance of Bulgaria as a PEFC national member.
A nationally developed system
The acceptance of the Council for Sustainable Forest Management and Certification in Bulgaria as a PEFC member is an important step towards preparing their national system for PEFC endorsement. A national sustainable forest management standard is currently being developed by a multi-stakeholder process. It is expected to undergo pilot testing and public consultation in 2017.
It is important to highlight that the work of the Council goes beyond technical work: “The Bulgarian council will not only be responsible for managing the certification system, but also for providing comprehensive support to the country’s forest owners,” emphasized Mr. Stefanov.
“We have seen fantastic progress in Southeast Europe over the last year,” said Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International. “Both Macedonia and Romania joined the PEFC alliance last year, and now we are delighted to welcome Bulgaria to the family. Forests play an important societal and economic role in this region. More than half the population lives in rural areas and forests are a significant source of income, jobs and resources. We have been actively supporting projects within the Balkans since the first Collaboration Fund back in 2011. Thanks to our International Stakeholder member Connecting Natural Values and People Foundation (CNVP), from 2016 we moved to a regional approach to increase forest certification throughout the Balkans”.