MONTREAL — Resolute Forest Products is threatening not to seek new Forest Stewardship Council certifications for its Canadian forests over fears that possible changes to the designation process could constrain its supply of wood.Chief among the Montreal-based company’s concerns is a proposal by Greenpeace that would see “the vast majority” of intact forests — those that have been undisturbed by roads or settlements — protected.“Until significant progress is made in addressing these matters, Resolute will work to maintain its existing FSC forest management certificates where possible, but will not pursue new certification,” the company said Wednesday as it announced the reinstatement of an FSC certificate for the Black Spruce/Dog River-Matawin forest covering 2.4 million hectares in northwestern Ontario.Forestry to disappear from Quebec’s North Shore without more support, says Resolute Forest ProductsPeter Foster: At last, a Canadian corporate heroThat certificate was suspended in January 2014 following an audit by the Rainforest Alliance that resulted in a legal fight between Resolute and the review agency. The dispute was settled last February and the reinstatement follows Resolute’s efforts to secure the support of First Nations along with local communities and other partners.The FSC is the largest certification regime in Canada, covering about 50 million hectares of Canadian forests. Resolute, which produces lumber, pulp and paper, is the largest holder of FSC certificates in Canada and second-largest in North America.However, it cautioned that the future of FSC certifications in Canada are at risk unless industry concerns are addressed.Resolute spokesman Seth Kursman said the entire forestry sector worries about the Greenpeace proposal, put forth last year at an FSC international congress in Spain.“If Motion 65 goes ahead as currently written … you are going to find very few if any companies in the Canadian context that are able to maintain FSC certification,” he said.The Quebec Forest Industry Council has warned that any additional restrictions on accessing wood could further threaten mills and employment.It said the province has already reduced the annual allowable cut by 23 per cent over the past decade and established a northern limit that eliminates from harvest about 42 per cent of the continuous boreal forest and 85 per cent of intact forest landscapes.“Quebec has already done its part to maintain intact forest landscapes,” the group wrote in a letter last month to FSC Canada.“The addition of further constraints on harvesting intact forest landscapes within the managed forest would inevitably result in very substantial reductions in wood supply, and therefore the loss of many jobs.”FSC Canada president Francois Dufresne called the industry’s concerns “premature,” coming before it issues a first draft report of the proposed new forest management standard in the coming days and holds consultations.“Before it’s even public they are saying it’s not good or have serious doubts about it,” he said.Dufresne said there’s an opportunity to find “common ground” to maintain a viable forest industry.“Certainly it’s not the intention of FSC to cause these issues in the future but we also have to recognize the international will to take care of these remaining forests around the globe for climate change and ensure there’s not degradation from forest causing emissions in the atmosphere.”Greenpeace said the reinstatement of the FSC certificate for the Black Spruce/Dog River-Matawin forest provides a “feasible path” for Resolute to recover terminated certificates for Ontario’s Caribou Forest and Quebec’s Montagnes Blanches.“We also urge the company to discontinue its public undermining of the FSC system, which is the only credible forest certification system that balances economic, social, environmental and Indigenous voices,” Greenpeace said in a news release.The Canadian Press
The UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) issued a statement today deploring the crimes committed on Friday in Dieouzon village, near Bangolo, where the dead were discovered by a joint patrol of UNOCI and the French Licorne forces.The incident “resulted in the movement of the inhabitants of the village,” according to UNOCI, which said impartial forces reinforced monitoring in the area by additional mixed patrols aimed at restoring confidence among the local population.An investigation is underway to identify the perpetrators. “UNOCI invites all witnesses to collaborate so as to assist in stopping these criminal acts and calls on the inhabitants of the area to remain calm, recalling that violence does not resolve ethnic or economic conflicts,” the mission said.In a related development, on Friday, UNOCI’s Acting Force Commander, General Fernand Amoussou, called on the Ivorian Chiefs of Staff to resume their military dialogue. Speaking in Abidjan during the mission’s weekly press conference, Gen. Amoussou said that the resumption would make it possible for the chiefs of the national Defence and Security Forces and the rebel Armed Forces of the Forces Nouvelles to agree on accords they had signed jointly. Giving a brief assessment of the mission’s activities, he said that since the beginning of this year there had been approximately 9,000 day and night patrols by battalions as well as military observers throughout Côte d’Ivoire.While these activities “contribute to the security of the country,” he said stability in Côte d’Ivoire was the responsibility of its authorities. “These patrols also help with reconciliation at the local level, more precisely in the villages where people always lived together, so as to bring back a climate of fraternity and serenity.” Gen. Amoussou explained that the presence of the Force in the zone of confidence was justified by the mission’s wish to prevent any resumption of hostilities. He said UNOCI would support the Government of National Reconciliation in all the operations aimed at restoring peace and holding elections. Meanwhile, in Bouaké, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative for Côte d’Ivoire, Pierre Schori, on Thursday inaugurated a UNOCI-financed Quick Impact Project run by a non-governmental organization (NGO) called “Notre Enfance,” which helps women and the children.