AGREF founding assembly accomplished
The first important step towards more sustainable forestry in Mozambique has recently been taken. On December the 8th 2010 the founding assembly of AGREF took place with an impressive attendance. This means that AGREF is now an officially founded organization – ready to start the work establishing a National Office for FSC Mozambique and developing a standard for sustainable forestry in Mozambique.
During the founding assembly a board of directors (BoD) was elected without any objections raised, and several members joined the economic, social and environmental chamber of the new organization. Besides the board election, the internal regulations were also approved, membership fees were agreed upon and a coordinator for AGREF chosen.
The support of AGREF is growing
The interest in being part of the development of FSC in Mozambique is growing rapidly. Many organizations and individuals joined AGREF at the founding assembly, among them both social and environmental organizations as well as companies from the forestry sector. At the moment AGREF has 22 members. See the full membership list here.
Election of president and board
Several candidates were put forward in the election of the AGREF board, representing members from the three membership chambers and candidates for president and vice president. In the end Mr. Pedro Moura from Portucel Mocambique was elected as president and Mr. Rito Mabunda from WWF (World Wildlife Fund for Nature) as vice president. The board consists of nine members representing the member organizations. See all board members here.
Besides the elections of both a president and a vice president, the BoD also elected a coordinator for AGREF. There were two candidates that both made a presentation for the BoD. In the end the BoD elected Dr. Mario Falcao for the position as coordinator for AGREF. He is to be the daily leader and contact person for AGREF and later for FSC Mozambique. Get more information about Mario Falcao here.
AGREF is an organization, which aims at promoting and enhancing responsible forestry in Mozambique through FSC certification. AGREF wants to achieve this by engaging key stakeholders within the sector of forestry, environmental organizations and social organizations in creating a common ground for FSC-certification in Mozambique.
Thus AGREF has the sole purpose to become the National Office for FSC in Mozambique over time. But to become approved by FSC International, the AGREF must first be legally founded as an organization within Mozambique and have a multistakeholder based structure with equal representation with the three chambers of FSC – economic interest, environmental organizations and social organizations.
With the founding general assembly of AGREF last week, the first important step towards this main purpose has now been taken.
Read more about AGREF here
Read how you can join AGREF here
Download the minutes of the founding assembly
Announcement of founding assembly of AGREF
On Wednesday the 8th of December the founding assembly of The Association for Responsible Forestry in Mozambique (Associação pela Gestão Responsável das Florestas em Moçambique, AGREF) will take place in Maputo, Mozambique.
Participating in the assembly and joining AGREF is your opportunity to get your opinion heard and to influence the terms and conditions for responsible forestry in Mozambique.
Download draft programme
Download draft internal regulation
Ethical bank helps FSC business in Mozambique and other developing countries
The leading Danish ethical bank Merkur Cooperative Bank has been financing socially and environmentally sustainable business development in Europe for a long time. One of the banks new initiatives is loan option to companies wanting to develop FSC certified business opportunities in developing countries.
Any company based in one of the countries on the list of the Danish Industrialisation Fund for Developing countries may apply for a loan. This means that companies in Mozambique interesting in doing FSC business and meeting the requirements of Merkur Cooperative Bank can apply for a loan.
Read more about Merkur Bank's development loans here: www.merkurdevelopmentloans.dk
Credit Officer Kirsten Arup says: "We are focusing mainly on positive investment criteria. If banking is to make a real difference, it isn't very efficient to just exclude worst-case investments for example in warfare or highly polluting industries. It is much more interesting if the money actively contributes to improving the state of the world. We see FSC and the other certification schemes as drivers of a socially equitable and environmentally sound business development that ultimately helps to end poverty in the Third World".
Terms and criteria
Merkur Development Loans Ltd. is established in partnership with the Danish Industrialisation Fund for Developing countries (IFU). Any company based in one of the countries on the IFU list may apply for a loan. However, it is seen as an asset if the company is already exporting to developed countries and has business partners there.
"Of course we always check the economic viability of the project and the likelihood that the loan will be duly reimbursed by the company", says Arup. "Ongoing export to overseas business partners is a clear signal that the company is well-established. It is also a good sign if the company is already certified to a credible standard approved by IFOAM. We know that to become certified, the company needs a certain level of organization", Arup says.
She continues: "However, certification is not a criterion for obtaining a loan. On the contrary, if the company has already started on certification procedures, we may offer to finance the costs incurred”.
The loans are expected to average 40-50,000 EUR, with a maximum individual grant size of 200,000 EUR for medium-size companies. The loans can be used for purchasing new equipment, constructing new facilities, etc. The repayment time is typically 3-5 years - long-term conditions compared to the time normally allowed for reimbursement of loans in developing countries.
Read more about Merkur Bank's development loans her: www.merkurdevelopmentloans.dk.
Successful first step towards responsible FSC forestry in Mozambique
The first step towards more responsible FSC forestry in Mozambique was taken last week with a conference hosting many relevant stakeholders from the national forestry sector arranged by FSC Denmark and AGREF (Association for Responsible Forestry in Mozambique). The outcome is promising. Over 20 companies and organizations have expressed their interest in joining AGREF and becoming a part of the FSC Mozambique and forestry standard development to be.
The conference in Maputo last Tuesday hosted social and environmental organizations, important government representatives, forest and plantation operators, business associations and representatives from certification bodies.
Awareness of FSC
The conference was successful in raising the awareness of FSC forest certification among stakeholder as well as emphasising key issues of concern in the different stakeholder groups. The outcome of the conference will feed into the ongoing process of establishing a National Office for FSC in Mozambique.
In line with three-chamber structure of the FSC system, two workshops for the private sector and civil society organizations respectively was conducted, which led to important conclusions and priorities to the upcoming work of AGREF/FSC Mozambique.
Next step is a founding assembly for AGREF in September 2010, where the organizational structure, internal regulation and an outline for AGREFs work will be discussed.
AGREF - Association for Responsible Forestry in Mozambique (Associação pela Gestão Resposável das Florestas em Moçambique) - is an organization, which aims at promoting and enhancing responsible forestry in Mozambique through FSC certification.
AGREF wants to achieve this by engaging key stakeholders within the sector of forestry, environmental organizations and social organizations in creating a common ground for FSC-certification in Mozambique.
Want to join?
To express your interest in joining AGREF please contact Ms. Gertrud Kümmel Nielsen on Gertrud@agref.info.
> Further information on the outcome of the conference and the work of AGREF can be downloaded here
> Download the conference summary with details about the outcome and conclusions here
FSC Conference Tuesday the 6th of July in Maputo
An extensive consultation process conducted in April and May this year has revealed a great interest in and enthusiasm about the process of establishing a working group for FSC forestry in Mozambique. A conference on FSC Forestry in Mozambique will therefore be held in Maputo at the Pestana Rovuma Hotel and Conference Centre on Tuesday the 6th of July 2010 from 10:00 to 18:00.
The conference will include social and environmental organizations, forestry companies, government institutions, certification bodies, research institutions and forestry specialists. It is a great opportunity for all parties to get together and gain valuable knowledge on the future for FSC forestry in Mozambique.
Introduction to FSC and advantages
The objective of the conference on the 6th of July is to introduce FSC Forestry and to elaborate on the advantages of establishing a FSC working group in Mozambique and to explain the role of the working group chambers. Furthermore, it is the goal of the conference to establish an understanding of key priorities and challenges of sustainable forestry, from different viewpoints. This information in turn will produce a foundation for the FSC working group.