INDEPENDENT FOREST MONITORING: A CHANCE FOR IMPROVED GOVERNANCE IN VPA COUNTRIES?
The forest sector is particularly vulnerable to poor governance including corruption, fraud, and organised crime.1 Illegality in the sector generates vast sums of money and has helped fuel long and bloody conflicts. Even in countries that have good forest laws, implementation is weak and can be bypassed by powerful corporate and political interests that facilitate illegal production of timber. Since early 2000, Independent Forest Monitoring (IFM) has been championed by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as a way to document illegalities and promote stronger law enforcement in the forest sector. This document highlights on lessons learned from Cameroon, Ghana, Liberia, and the Republic of the Congo.
CIVIC RESPONSE’S 2016 ANNUAL REPORT
The year 2016, an election year in Ghana, began on a fairly good note for forest governance when Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the forestry sector, the Timber Industry and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR) chalked a landmark breakthrough by overcoming nearly two decades long of political hurdles that were the
main reasons for illegal logging in Ghana.
FOREST GOVERNANCE MONITORING SYSTEM – GHANA
Civic Response in Ghana and partners in Liberia, Cameroon and Republic of Congo, developed monitoring systems in the respective countries for forest governance. The objective was to generate evidence on selected governance indicators (Participation,Transparency and Benefit Sharing) to inform the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT–VPA) processes. This document outlines the context, objectives and expected outputs for the Ghana work.
ASSESSING COMMUNITY CONSENT IN LARGE SCALE LAND INVESTMENTS IN GHANA
One of the crucial elements during land acquisition process is the role of tenant farmers, community members, and landowners. The Free Prior Informed Consent concept provides an avenue to address concerns of local communities and indigenous peoples in land acquisitions in implemented right. Civic Response, with funding support from the EU sought to interrogate the application of elements of this principle in selected areas of large land acquisitions for forest-related projects. The study revealed that large scale land acquisitions in the country, especially within the frame of Customary tenure, do not meet the FPIC guidelines and the requirements of most of the laws and policies of the country.
ASSESSING ACCESSIBILITY & AVAILABILITY OF LOGGING INFORMATION TO COMMUNITIES
This study is part of the actions implementing the Tackling Deforestation Programme through linking the REDD+ and FLEGT Projects, which is being implemented Civic Response in Ghana. Among the outcomes of the Tackling Deforestation Programme is the establishment of governance monitoring systems to track developments in the forest and land sectors, particularly initiatives related to the FLEGT process, land acquisition and REDD+.
DISTRICT ASSEMBLY USE OF TIMBER ROYALTIES IN GHANA
The purpose of this study is to contribute to improving the use of forest royalties for the development of Ghana. The study assesses the current situation in selection of districts and makes recommendations from this evidence to those involved in the distribution and management of DA timber royalties. In particular it identifies governance failures and discusses how transparency and accountability might be strengthened.
UNDERSTANDING HOW TIMBER IS HARVESTED IN GHANA
Attempts to sustainably manage forest resources in Ghana have changed over time as social, political and economic conditions change. Logging policies have similarly changed frequently over the last few decades with various measures adopted at different stages in an attempt to optimise the production base. In pursuance of sustainable forest management in Ghana, timber production in the past was permitted through long-term concessions and short-term licenses. In the 1970’s there was considerable decline in all the sectors of the timber industry including log products, sawn lumber and processed wood products due to general economic depression in the country.
SRA & COMPENSATIONS
It is necessary to set the context for discussing the need for community participation in forest monitoring to enable community members appreciate what they will be losing if they do not, and what they stand to gain if they do. The main incentive for communities to participate in forest monitoring is to ensure communities benefit financially from the forest resources they own, protect, and manage. Currently the only financial benefit accruing to communities is the implementation of Social Responsibility Agreements (SRAs) by timber companies which is 5% of stumpage fees paid by timber companies.
FLEGT VPA: WHAT COMMUNITIES MUST KNOW!
This manual is the result of a series of training from 2014 to 2016 for local forest communities. One major learning from the training is that clear communication to local communities and good understanding of the leverage FLEGT-VPA provides can be a good trigger for forest law enforcement at the local level. It is this agenda that this manual seeks to address. In every section, there are notes to the trainer, which provide useful insights and deeper explanation trainers can share with trainees.