FSC certification in Laos

Posted: 24 October 2006 in FSC, Laos, Logging, World Bank

From: William Magrath (World Bank)
To: Chris Lang
Cc: Björn Roberts (Tropical Forest Trust), Christian Sloth (Rainforest Alliance/SmartWood), Harri Seppänen (Ramboll Finnconsult), Heiko Liedeker (FSC), Hugh Blackett (Tropical Forest Trust), Hilary Thompson (Tropical Forest Trust), Jeffrey Hayward (Rainforest Alliance/SmartWood), Loy Jones (Rainforest Alliance/SmartWood), Marko Katila (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland), Rod Taylor (WWF Indonesia), Simon Greenaway (Tropical Forest Trust), Scott Poynton (Tropical Forest Trust), Tensie Whelan (Rainforest Alliance/SmartWood), Richard Donovan (Rainforest Alliance/SmartWood), Bouahong Phanthanousi (Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, SUFORD National Project Coordinator) Jussi Viitanen (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland) Matti Junnila (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland)
Date: 19.10.2006 17:07

Dear Mr. Lang–

Yes, I was aware of your article and at least some of the subsequent exchanges. I appreciate your interest in SUFORD and the value of this discussion.

The Bank expects the project to continuously monitor its own performance and became aware of the results of the adviser’s work in June this year in the course of regular Bank supervision of the project.

In this and in other matters the Bank expects the responsible GOL authorities and the project team to take steps to respond to monitoring and evaluation results as they emerge, and have advised the project and others of our interest in reviewing any corrective or remedial actions which are needed. A regularly scheduled joint mission of the Finland Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Bank will visit Laos in two weeks time and this has already been placed on the agenda. The Bank also expects that groups involved in certification, in this case FSC and Smartwood, will pursue their mandates and obligations. I have asked Smartwood to keep the Bank informed of the results of their investigations and am in touch with FSC, as well.

In at least one place in the discussion which you forwarded, the adviser’s report is described as a “Bank” report. I’d like to clarify that it was prepared under the auspices of a Government of Lao PDR project by a member of an advisory team provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland. The Bank provides support to the overall project, but not for the technical assistance team. That team and the project authorities are responsible for the report’s content, correctness and distribution. In line with general practice and and Bank disclosure policy regarding material that belong to others, I suggest you contact Mr. Bouahong PHANTHANOUSI (Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, SUFORD National Project Coordinator), Mr. Harri Seppanen (the advisory team leader) or Mr. Jussi Vitanen (Task Manager at the Finland Ministry of Foreign Affairs), who are among those I am copying on this email. They would also be able to help you with information on other technical assistance reports prepared by the project. If you have difficulty contacting them, please come back to me at your convenience.

Because of their interest in this matter, I am taking the liberty of copying this email to others on the distribution list.


William B. Magrath


William B. Magrath
Lead Natural Resource Economist
Rural Development and Natural Resources
East Asia and the Pacific



——– Original Message ——–
From: Chris Lang
To: William Magrath (World Bank)
Date: 18.10.2006 11:39
Subject: FSC certification in Laos

Dear Mr. Magrath,

As I’m sure you are aware I wrote an article in last month’s WRM Bulletin about the FSC certification of two areas of forest in the SUFORD project. The article generated some discussion (which is a good thing, I think) and seems to have caused some misunderstandings (which is not such a good thing). I’m currently working on an article which will attempt to clarify my position and clarify what I wrote in the article. For your information I’ve collected the responses and my replies to them – click on the comments button for more discussion.

I would be very grateful if you could answer a few questions about the SUFORD project and the certification:

1. My article was based on a May 2006 report by Tomas Jonsson produced under the SUFORD project. The version of the May 2006 report that I have seen is a draft report. Has a final version been produced? If so, could you please send me a copy.

2. Since May 2006, what steps has SUFORD and/or the Provincial Group Management Certification Unit taken to address the problems described in Jonsson’s report?

3. When did you first see Jonsson’s report? What action did you take on reading it? Did you, or anyone else from the SUFORD project contact SmartWood to inform them about the contents of the report?

4. Please provide me with a list of all the documents produced so far under the SUFORD project.

Please consider your response to be on-the-record. My deadline for this article is Friday 20th October – I would be grateful if you could respond by the end of this week. Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Chris Lang






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