To: Ben Gunneberg, Secretary General — Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)

Dear Mr Gunneberg,

We, the people of Sarawak and concerned citizens around the world, are deeply troubled by the current Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS) which has repeatedly ignored the voices and land rights of indigenous communities in the Baram region of Sarawak. 

The ‘Forest Management Units’  of Gerenai and Ravenscourt have been certified without proper consultation of affected communities.  The  process has fallen short on multiple fronts: many communities are unaware they are within the concession areas, others have actively voiced their opposition and have been ignored.  Neither the public nor the communities have access to the Social and Environmental Impact Assessments. 

Letters pointing out this lack of free, prior and informed consent were sent to the logging company Samling and the certification body SIRIM. To date, there has been no adequate response, no adequate consultation and no resolution. We have been left with no choice but to appeal to the international certification body PEFC.

Communities in the Baram region rely heavily on the forest — for both physical and cultural survival. Considering the devastating impact of deforestation on threatened wildlife populations and the planet, we believe that the indigenous communities who call these forests home are the best custodians and protectors of that land. To exclude them from the consultation process is both unethical and a breach of the certification scheme. 

We urge PEFC to ensure the MTCS corresponds with PEFC standards, not just on paper but on the ground where it really matters. 

We specifically demand:

  • Proper information sharing with and good-faith consultations of affected communities
  • Full public transparency on Social and Environmental Impact Assessments
  • Respect of Free, Prior and Informed Consent of the local communities (including possibility of a total rejection of any logging in their territories)
  • Respect for conservation efforts of the local communities 

If MTCS is unable to deliver on these demands by genuinely engaging with community concerns then PEFC should not pass the revised MTCS standard. We urge PEFC to use its considerable influence to ensure Malaysia cannot continue to sell conflict timber to the world. 

Address:

PEFC International
ICC Bldg. C, Post Box 1862

Supporting materials and media: