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Peaceful, just and inclusive societies are necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Yet, persecution, injustice and abuse still runs rampant and is tearing at the very fabric of civilization. We must ensure that we have strong institutions, global standards of justice, and a commitment to peace everywhere.

Peaceful and inclusive societies are built on a foundation of sound governance – where resources are managed equitably for the benefit of all, rule of law prevails, and the legitimacy of those laws is broadly accepted. This understanding is reflected by SDG 16, which focuses on transparency, participation, accountability, government coordination and enhanced capacity.


Forests & Peace and justice

A healthy forest sector can play a critical role in preventing conflict and distress migration, and in building peace. On the other hand, mismanagement of forests and forest land can fuel conflict.


PEFC’s contribution to SDG #16

- PEFC standard setting is governed by the key principles of inclusive stakeholder engagement (based on Agenda 21), balanced representation, consensus, continuous improvement and transparency -

PEFC contributes to SDG 16 in various way. Sound governance is integral to many aspects of PEFC’s work, from institutional set-up, to forest certification requirements, to standard development and to our practical work on the ground in many countries around the globe.

First of all, PEFC’ sustainable forest management requirements, require compliance with international and national law including legal, property, land tenure, customary, traditional and human rights and other relevant environmental and social regulations.

PEFC contribute to SDG targets regarding the application of the law and the reduction of corruption by requiring that specific measures shall be implemented to address protection of the forest from unauthorized activities such as illegal logging, illegal land use, illegally initiated fires, and other illegal activities.

It continues with PEFC’s governance requirements for organisations wishing to become members, which need to be inclusive. They need the support of the national forest owner’s or national forestry organisation (as the stakeholders most impacted by its activities) and are also required to provide participating interested parties with a fair, ongoing and appropriate possibility to influence the organisation’s decision making.

Similarly, standard setting is governed by the key principles of inclusive stakeholder engagement, balanced representation, consensus, improvement and transparency, promoting a process that facilitates a better understanding between potentially differing viewpoints. Furthermore, PEFC’s processes for the periodic review and updating of standards and the international assessment of national standards means supports the development of effective, accountable and transparent institutions.

PEFC also engage in a wide range of projects at local level to help build strong, inclusive institutions on the ground.


SDG16 justice


PEFC’s Sustainable Forest Management requirements contributing to SDG #16:

  • 6.3.1. Legal compliance :
    • The organisation shall identify and have access to the legislation applicable to its forest management and determine how these compliance obligations apply to the organisation.
    • The organisation shall comply with applicable local, national and international legislation on forest management, including but not limited to forest management practices; nature and environmental protection; protected and endangered species; property, tenure and land-use rights for indigenous peoples, local communities or other affected stakeholders; health, labor and safety issues; anti-corruption and the payment of applicable royalties and taxes.
    • Where no anti-corruption legislation exists, the organisation must take alternative anti-corruption measures appropriate to the risk of corruption.
    • Measures shall be implemented to address protection of the forest from unauthorized activities such as illegal logging, illegal land use, illegally initiated fires, and other illegal activities
  • 6.3.2 Legal, customary and traditional rights related to the forest land:
    • Property rights, tree ownership and land tenure arrangements shall be clearly defined, documented and established for the relevant management unit. Likewise, legal, customary and traditional rights related to the forest land shall be clarified, recognised and respected.
    • Forest practices and operations shall be conducted in recognition of the established framework of legal, customary and traditional rights such as outlined in ILO 169 and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which shall not be infringed upon without the free, prior and informed consent of the holders of the rights, including the provision of compensation where applicable. Where the extent of rights is not yet resolved, or is in dispute, there are processes for just and fair resolution. In such cases forest managers shall, in the interim, provide meaningful opportunities for parties to be engaged in forest management decisions whilst respecting the processes and roles and responsibilities laid out in the policies and laws where the certification takes place.
    • Forest practices and operations shall respect human rights as defined by the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
  • PEFC’s conformity assessment process – which governs how certification and accreditation is performed, is aligned with well-established best practices by the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) and the International Accreditation Forum (IAF)


>> More about the SDGs on the UN website 

>> More about PEFC’s Sustainable Forest Management Requirements