Expected result 1: 50 civil society groups (CSOs), 90 domestic timber producer groups and traders, 30 media houses and 25 private timber companies are effectively engaged in national FLEGT/VPA negotiation and implementation processes
Below are the activities implemented to achieve result 1.
Activity 1.1: Training for industry, timber trade associations, media and NGOs to support SMEs in complying with VPA Timber Legality Assurance System requirements
A range of forest management stakeholders including ClientEarth, the Ghana Timber Association (GTA), Domestic Lumber Traders Association (DOLTA), Timber Industry Development Division (TIDD), National Editors Forum-Ghana, the Standardised Independent Observation System (SYNOIE-Cameroon) and Réseau Recherches Actions Concertées Pygmées (RACOPY, the civil society platform that protects and defends indigenous rights in Cameroon) collaborated to build the capacity of domestic timber producers and wood traders on national FLEGT/VPA negotiation and implementation in Ghana, Cameroon, DRC and Cote d’Ivoire. Topics included: forest law, illegal logging, Chain of Custody (CoC) procedures, documentation, Legality Assurance System (LAS) requirements, Legality matrix, and timber traceability processes.
- Pressure on government by the Woodworkers’ Association of Ghana (WAG) to bring equity in access to forest resources between SMEs and large-scale export industries, and also push for a reforestation strategy as a source of legaUpload Filesl wood for the domestic timber industry
- SMEs are documenting company procedures for compliance with domestic market standards, and have organised stakeholder forums to resolve SME-related issues and discuss impacts of the Ghana LAS (GhLAS) on their operations. Trainees are sharing the new information with association members.
- Discussions between communities and private logging companies have agreed access to raw wood materials from community forests.
- Communiqué drafted to the Minister of Forests asking for bottlenecks threatening stakeholder participation in VPA implementation to be resolved
- Compliance with forest codes by three SMEs as a result of increased awareness of FLEGT-VPA requirements, and now engaging in downstream joinery production for product export
- Identified future training needs and other support
- Advocacy and lobbying by SMEs to press government to grant legal access to timber resources to bring equity in timber allocations between private and informal sectors
- Strengthened CSO knowledge on corruption in the forestry sector
- Monitoring mechanism established to support enforcement of the Congolese government’s moratorium on forest exploitation, and to counter corruption, impunity and political interference in the forestry sector
- Forest Governance Committee for provincial-level consultations established to stimulate discussion on FLEGT and forest governance issues
- Commission established to support government’s revision of the logging rules
- Strengthened capacity of CSOs to participate in the FLEGT/VPA TechnicalNegotiating Committee
- CSOs contributing to development of the legality grid, LAS, domestic timber market and accompanying measures, and a communicationstrategy for FLEGT/VPA information.
Activity 1.2: Support development, standardisation and testing of monitoring protocols for forest governance
Existing monitoring systems and protocols for Ghana have been reviewed, and CSO training workshops, stakeholder consultations, and national stakeholder workshops facilitated. A Social Responsibility Agreement (SRA) checklist and an Illegality Grid have been developed in consultation with the Ghana government, the private sector and civil society. In the DRC, the project supported the Resource Extraction Monitoring’s (REM) independent observation process, and a workshop that facilitated dialogue towards implementation of the civil society strategy on independent forest monitoring.
- CSOs and other interested actors supported in monitoring forest governance
- SRA Audit Checklist and Illegality Grid developed for Ghana are now both in use by the RFUK/FoE-Ghana project on community real-time monitoring funded by the UK Department for International Development (DfID)
- Policy briefs disseminated in DRC to share information on civil society participation in FLEGT, and challenges for SMEs in FLEGT implementation
- CSO platforms in DRC are now aware of the independent forest observation strategy and are monitoring compliance with forest laws and regulations.
Activity 1.3: Support the functioning of multi-stakeholder consultations within FLEGT/VPA negotiation and implementation across governments, civil society organisations and industry
FLEGT Communication Contact Group Meetings were organised in Ghana with CSOs including Civic Response, Tropenbos International Ghana (TBI-Ghana), Working Group on Forest Certification, Nature and Development Foundation (NDF) and the International Centre for Enterprise and Sustainable Development (ICED). Meetings with the media discussed forest governance, outstanding FLEGT policy issues, implementation challenges, and the media’s role in ensuring information on good forest governance and FLEGT/VPA is shared widely. In Côte d’Ivoire, CSOs met with the Technical Negotiation Committee to learn about the VPA process and discuss integration of civil society concerns into the Forestry Code regulations and the legality matrix. In DRC, a meeting on the FLEGT VPA discussed the role of CSOs in the FLEGT.
- In Cameroon, a Standardised Independent Observation System (SYNOIE) has been developed to enhance independent monitoring by civil society and communities
- In Ghana, the Multi-Stakeholder Implementation Committee developed a feedback mechanism to ensure information reaches grassroots stakeholders
- FoE-Ghana was identified to convene a discussion on building harmony among FLEGT projects. Key outputs were agreements to: share project implementation plans; identify specific areas for collaboration towards optimising the use of financial resources; and print a joint FLEGT Newsletter between FoE-Ghana, NDF and Client Earth-Ghana.
- Stakeholders’ consultations in Côte d’Ivoire identified the main challenges as: access to information; technical capacity lapses; integrating the needs of civil society and communities in the VPA Process; participation in the committee in charge of writing new forest laws; and acquisition of land owner certificates or titles.
- In the DRC, the project has renewed stakeholder interest in the VPA negotiation process. Civil society has organised into the platform Civil Society Organisations’ Coalition for Forest Law Enforcement (CALF), and is now calling for a stakeholder mechanism to reflect, discuss and make decisions on implementation of forest laws and regulations in the DRC. Among the resolutions made during the workshop were:
- The need for the CALF technical secretariat to organise an assessment of the platform
- The organisation of a series of reflections to allow CALF to develop an agenda for civil society participation in the negotiation process.
Activity 1.4: Deliver training for community and civil society-led Independent Monitoring of Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (IM-FLEG) to nest into national monitoring systems for VPA and REDD+
In DRC, CSOs were trained in independent monitoring (IM) and legal compliance audits. The participants also used the legality matrix indicators for industrial logging to conduct an analysis and verification of legal compliance. In Cameroon, the project partnered with the Independent External Observation Project 2 (EO-2 FLEGT) to train CSOs and forest community groups in independent forest monitoring and the National External Independent Observation System. Technical support to the “Congo Basin VPA Implementation” project was also given. In Ghana, civil society and community groups were trained in independent monitoring of forest governance, including forest sector legislation, illegal activities, and reporting unusual observations from the field.
- Strengthened technical capacity and financial and political leverage of CSOs to implement an effective IM-FLEGT program.
- Consistencies identified between different legal criteria and indicators in DRC that will be used by trainees to develop protocols to assess compliance of operators’ activities with Principle 3 – The entity respects the rights of workers and local communities and/or indigenous peoples – of the legality grid
- Forest sector CSOs and communities in Ghana are aware of illegalities in the forest sector and now contribute to law enforcement by reporting forest offences and checking timber operators’ logging rights, permits and documentation
- In Cameroon, the VPA impact monitoring methodology was amended and validated, and a strategy developed to engage with the institutions monitoring FLEGT VPA implementation. The workshop strengthened community forestry groups for participation in the VPA.
Activity 1.5: Build advocacy and interest-based negotiation capacity among small and medium-size operators and traders, forest dependent communities and NGOs
Training workshops were facilitated for timber industry stakeholders and civil society using modules such as the SRA checklist and forest legality grids to improve advocacy towards the timely and transparent implementation of FLEGT VPAs. Communities and commercial operators were trained in advocacy strategies, mobilisation, and Interest Based Negotiations (IBN). The skills are intended for use towards: policy change in the forest sectors, SRA negotiation and implementation, good forest governance, and negotiation and decision making in the VPA process. In DRC, copies of real and dubious contracts signed between contractors and the Congolese government were shared, giving CSOs and communities an idea of how to identify fake contracts.
- In DRC, challenges identified for forest communities include rights to resource access, ownership, benefits and use. Local communities are now demanding their rights to forest access and resource use, and questioning the legitimacy of operations by certain forest operators. This is promoting transparency and accountability in the forest sector. Outre la présentation du projet CISOPFLEGT, les participants ont échangé sur
- In Ghana, trade associations are pressuring government to convert extant forest concession leases into legal Timber Utilisation Contracts (TUC).
Activities for expected result 2 towards sharing information and experiences on forest governance to strengthen FLEGT VPA negotiation and implementation
Activities for expected result 3 towards improved public awareness and transparency in forest sector governance
Activities for expected result 4 towards increased visibility of and demand for legal timber by timber producers, traders and consumers