The FSC Board decided to streamline the approval of national standards

During their  meeting in November 2019, the Board of Directors (BoD) formally agreed that decisions about certain national standards would be delegated to the policy steering group (PSG), a new body in the FSC Secretariat, from 2020 onwards. The decision is better aligned with the current FSC Global Strategic Plan 2015-2020 and streamlines the normative framework.

The national standards to be delegated include:

1.    Low-complexity national forest stewardship standards(NFSS). The FSC secretariat – in consultation with relevant stakeholders – is presently defining and developing criteria to identify low-complexity NFSS.

2.    Interim national standards (INS), including non-timber forest product standards stemming from INS processes. INS are FSC national standards developed under FSC requirements and by FSC accredited certification bodies. INS specify the requirements to obtain FSC certification in countries that are lacking a NFSS.  

The FSC Secretariat has updated the procedure FSC-PRO-60-007 Structure, Content and Development of Interim National Standards to reflect this decision. The PSG will approve the aforementioned standards from March 2020. 

Streamlining the incorporation of the IGIs V 2-0 into the NFSS

The BoD approved the first version of the standard FSC-STD-60-004 International Generic Indicators V 1-0 and its related indicators in 2015. A new version of the document  was then approved to include, among others, new considerations on principles from the Core Conventions of the International Labour Organization, on intact forest landscapes, and on free, prior and informed consent. It became effective on 01 July 2018 and all NFSS complying with GIs V1-0 -whether already approved or still in the second consultation at that time – must be transferred to the new set of IGIs V2-0 by 30 June 2020.

Achieving this deadline has become challenging. The transfer process to the new set of IGIs V2-0 calls for additional coordination and resources outside the normal cycle of revision of the standards  required from standards’ development groups, national offices, the secretariat, and the PSC. For this reason, the BoD decided standard developers may incorporate the IGIs V2-0  into the next scheduled revision process of the NFSS. This decision enables FSC to adopt a more predictable mechanism for the incorporation of the IGIs V2-0 into the NFSS.

To detail this decision FSC is developing an advice note which will be published in the next days.