The project, which will take place in North Vietnam, will initially evaluate options for advancing certification and sustainable forest management in the north of the country.
Certification allows forest management to be monitored, and can identify illegally produced or handled timber and other products from the rainforest through supply chains.
Earning a stamp of approval
The scheme will also monitor the social and economic well-being of forest workers and communities, as well as giving them access to international markets.
To gain certification, products are evaluated according to an independent, third-party standard. Those that meet the standard earn a "stamp of approval" or "ecolabel" so that purchasers and consumers know they were produced in a legal, sustainable and socially responsible way.
The project will first look into options and barriers to effective forest certification in northern Vietnam, locate communities that could potentially benefit from participating in a certification scheme, and identify barriers to the certification process.
Access to new markets
It will also assess the potential for scaling up its activities and replicating them on a larger scale elsewhere.
"Millions of people rely on forests for their food and incomes, and certification schemes can offer them a tool for safeguarding their interests and preserving their forests, as well as fairer access to new markets" said Eduardo Rojas-Briales, the FAO’s assistant-director general for forestry, who signed the agreement with Ikea.
"However certification poses special challenges to small-growers and communities for whom the burden of engaging in certification may be too high if they are not supported.”
Margarete Arnesson Ciotti, of the Swedish permanent representation to FAO, added: ”This partnership is yet another example of a sustainability-minded, private sector company responding to FAO's call for allies in helping build a hunger-free world.”