Expected result 2: Existence and functioning of 120 Constructive and learning dialogue platforms for discussing forest governance issues, sharing information and experiences are operational and lead to strengthened FLEGT/VPA and REDD+ processes in the four targeted countries
Below are the activities implemented to achieve result 2.
Activity 2.1: Establish and operationalise national web-based and consultative platforms to disseminate and share lessons and experiences across FLEGT/REDD+ related projects
National web-based consultation platforms were established to share lessons, achievements and experiences from FLEGT projects with other FLEGT country stakeholders. The project’s FLEGTInfo website was set up to share FLEGT information, which is now available on FoE-Ghana’s website here.
Experience sharing meetings for FLEGT-VPA were organised in Cameroon, DRC, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana for different stakeholder groups and FLEGT actors including the Ministry of Land and Natural Resources in Ghana, Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife in Cameroon, international organisations (the GIZ, NDF/WWF and Transparency International), research institutions (CIFOR), CSOs, local and indigenous organisations, the Organisation of Chiefs, and local community representatives.
- FLEGTinfo website provided information on FLEGT activities, especially the CiSoPFLEG project. Stakeholders have been linked to other FLEGT/VPA platforms, generating interest in participating and using these to contribute to improved forest governance.
- In Cameroon, the workshop made recommendations for effective coherence between FLEGT and REDD+ and shared lessons learned from their implementation:
- Enable participation and consultation for a fair approach
- Establish pilot projects for success of the process
- Fulfill legal obligations on publicising information, e.g. reports of the REDD+ Steering Committee meetings
- Encourage stakeholders to build on existing profit sharing mechanisms in REDD+ that best meet the needs of communities
- Increase transparency on REDD+ using techniques such as the Annex to the FLEGT-VPA on transparency
- Build on research results to enhance both processes and support development of the REDD+ strategy
- Identify and operationalise proposals for greater synergy between the two processes
- Involve other representative administrations concerned with the FLEGT-VPA and REDD+ in subsequent workshops to share experiences, as well as evaluate and follow-up on workshop recommendations.
Activity 2.2 Create and support existing civil society and national forest governance dialogues in Cameroon, DRC, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire
Multi-stakeholder dialogues were developed at both community/province levels and the national level to address the differing approaches used by CSOs and governments for developing and organising forest forums in target countries. The forest forums are linked upwards from community level to the national level to ensure that indigenous and marginalised communities’ concerns are accounted for and integrated into national level actions.
In Cote d’Ivoire, community forest forums and a training workshop built the capacity of multi-stakeholder platform members who in turn are mobilising local forest forums in their communities. The National Forest Forum provided the first national dialogue on forests in Cote d’Ivoire, attended by representatives from the EU Delegation, academia, government, civil society, the media, traditional authorities, forest administration authorities and the private sector. The project also facilitated the General Assembly of RACOPY. This meeting revitalised the network and agreed new basic texts and realistic planning for activities in 2015. CSOs followed up with community forums to raise awareness of the new RACOPY texts and activities.
In Cameroon, the project supported the Coalition of Community Forests (REFOCOD), which focuses on restoring community rights, sharing FLEGT-VPA information, and education for timber legality grid compliance. CSOs and community based organisations (CBOs) met to discuss FLEGT/VPA committee and working group participation, the Legality Grid, the Legality Verification System (LAS) and the formation of three working groups: the legality matrix and LAS; the domestic market; and communication strategy and information.
In Ghana, two national forest forums were organised in collaboration with the NDF, and the National Editors Forum and involved the EU Delegation, government, the private sector and CSOs. Issues discussed included illegal chainsaw operations, corruption of forestry officials and traditional authorities, forest fires, community rights and land tenure. Community forest dialogue structures were strengthened, and issues of concern for forest communities brought to the attention of policy makers for redress.
- Forest fringe communities and other grassroots stakeholders now have a way – via the community forest forums – to participate in forest management decision-making in Ghana
- The joint communiqué presented to the Ghana Minister of Lands and Natural Resources and the discussions held with him strengthened his commitment to work with civil society in tackling forest sector challenges. Publication of the communiqué aimed to gather public support for national forest advocacy. Public radio discussions reveal that people in Ghana are advocating for the issues to be addressed.
- In Cameroon, civil society now has the opportunity via the consultation platforms to review the Standard Operating Procedures for inventories. Discussions with media and SMEs are underway to create a national platform.
- The awareness raising has ensured that forest communities in DRC and Cote d’Ivoire are now well aware of their rights and responsibilities and how to demand them
To facilitate the sharing of field experiences between the project countries, two field exchange visits were facilitated – the first in Ghana and the second in Cameroon – to bring together CSOs, VPA Focal Persons, media, community members, SMEs, government officials, EU delegations and other sector representatives from Ghana, Cameroon, DRC and Cote d’Ivoire. These ‘FLEGT Field Exchange Programmes’ have shared practical field experiences and facilitated stakeholder meetings with industry and forest fringe communities. Participants visited logging sites, wood processing companies, break-bulk yards, carpenters’ associations, and institutions in charge of FLEGT implementation, among others. Policy and operational issues relating to legal logging were discussed as well as country-specific FLEGT/VPA negotiation and implementation processes including:
- Trends in timber legality compliance and existing capacity gaps among key stakeholders
- Domestic market reform processes and expanding overland timber export
- Sub-regional applicability of public procurement policies for wood and wood products
- Trends in civil society-led/community-based independent forest monitoring.
- The report of the first exchange programme is available here
- Through the exchange programmes, partnerships have been established to mobilise resources for sustainable forest restoration and protection, sustainable timber procurement policies and responsible forest investment.
- The programmes’ positive outcomes suggest that future hands-on experience sharing and practical sessions for sector ministries, VPA Focal Persons and other intermediaries will be useful to ensure best practices in VPA negotiation and implementation.
- The programmes also made it clear that all actors along the timber chain from forest operators to exporters must work together effectively in the FLEGT/VPA if it is to be successfully implemented.
Activities for expected result 1 towards effectively engaging stakeholders in national 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