BWI to UNFF members: Align laws with international standards

BWI marked this year’s International Day of Forests by attending an event organised by the United Nations Forum on Forests’ (UNFF) on 19 March. 

Under the theme “Forest Restoration: A Path to Recovery and Well-Being,” the UNFF’s event aims to raise awareness on how forests play a vital role in the health and wellbeing of the people and the planet, especially in the middle of a pandemic. 

BWI used the occasion to call on its member-states to take their responsibilities seriously and align national laws, regulations and enforcement with international standards. It said that there must be full implementation of all forest-related agreements to ensure decent jobs, sustainable forest management and the health and safety of forest workers. 

“If the global forests community wants to contribute to the people’s recovery from COVID-19, UNFF member-states that are here today must ensure that the industry is in full compliance with all international standards, protocols and policies,” BWI Global Director for Wood and Forestry Coen van der Veer said. 

Van der Veer, who is also the focal point person of UNFF’s Major Group-Workers and Trade Unions, reminded the UNFF member-states that millions of jobs were lost and wages and working hours were drastically cut as a result of the pandemic. He said that the forestry industry and its 13 million workers were badly-hit by COVID-19. 

“The pandemic has not only exposed the widening and deepening gap between the haves and have-nots, it also exposed the existential crisis of an exploitative system that abuses the working people, including the workers in the rural economy. We all have to do better. We can do better,” van der Veer said.