Forest management certification to be made mandatory

Awang Tengah hits the gong three times to launch the conference. Also seen here are (from second left) Sarudu, Abdul Aziz and Len Talif. — Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: The state government will make it mandatory for all timber concessions in Sarawak to obtain forest management certification in order to enhance sustainable forest management in the state.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said there were many applications for the certification, showing that timber operators were committed to sustainable forest management.

“All timber operators, especially the ‘Big Six’, are required to apply. At the same time, they must make sure all the criteria are fulfilled,” he said, adding that the sooner the companies apply, the better.

Awang Tengah, who is also Second Minister of Urban Development and Natural Resources and Minister of Industrial and Entrepreneur Development, was speaking to reporters after declaring open the Global Timber Conference (GTC) 2017 yesterday.

Awang Tengah was representing Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He added that the state government also strengthened the Sarawak Timber Legality Verification System (STLVS) by providing a formal standard to include independent third party verification to ensure compliance with the laws and regulations of Sarawak.

“The full implementation of STLVS will effectively address issues raised by NGOs pertaining to the legality of timber and timber products sourced from Sarawak.”

He said his ministry was setting clear directions and committed to strengthening their enforcement to combat and eliminate illegal logging while making sure that the industry stakeholders faithfully implement Sustainable Forestry Management.

“We are also set to reduce our reliance on the natural forests for raw material to feed our timber mills. Towards this end, we are investing in R&D and pushing for the establishment of a viable and robust industrial forest estate in the state.”

Sarawak’s export of timber and timber products in 2016 was RM5.9 billion which accounted for approximately 27 per cent of the country’s total timber export, he said.

GTC 2017, which drew delegates from over 10 countries, is a two-day conference organised by Confexhub Group.

Confexhub Group chairman Datuk Dr Abdul Aziz SA Kadir said this is the second time that an international conference on timber and timber products is held in the region.

“The theme for this year’s GTC is ‘Innovation and Market Driven Strategies: Keystones to Sustainable Growth’ and is apt to address, discuss and recommend new directions, strategies and policy reforms needed to propel the timber and timber-product industry into the future,” he said in his speech.

Also present were Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Assistant Minister Datu Len Talif Salleh, Sarawak Forest Department director Sapuan Ahmad and Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC) general manager Datu Sarudu Hoklai.

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