Independent monitoring: Closing the gap between observation and action

 

Side event organised by FERN

 

Synopsis

Independent forest monitoring (IM) has been a feature of international efforts to improve forest governance and reduce illegal logging since the 1990s. IM, which is different from the Independent Audit function and VPA impact monitoring, is a key component in the successful implementation of a VPA. In the VPA-context, a wide range of stake holders such local communities, national and international NGOs, forest authorities, VPA institutions (JIC, IA), private sector (timber companies and service providers), and international partners has a role and a responsibility in IM. A review of recent IM experiences formulated some practical recommendations to improve IM initiatives and outputs:

  • Long-term funding of IM initiatives needs to continue, but more rigour in functions, status, and outputs is required.
  • IM civil society organisations need to further develop the exchange of ideas, strategies and experiences to strengthen understanding and effectiveness.
  • More work is needed to support Memorandums of Understanding or similar arrangements between IM civil society organisations and state authorities, as the degree of official recognition of civil society monitors is poorly developed or understood.

The crux of the problem remains the effective follow-up of IM missions and implementation is a stage where IM often stalls. It is often challenging for key players such as governments and private enterprises to take action on evidence of illegal activities. Why is this? What needs to be done, by all stakeholders involved (governments, private sector and civil society organisations), to translate the observations from the ground into effective policy actions in practice? 

 

Objectives

This side event will update participants on IM, explore how Interpol working to increase law enforcement at the international level, look at the causes of the gap between IM and policy change at national and international levels – and how to close the gap between observation and action. Participants will explore key questions: 

  • Who should do what, so that denouncements and other information can move from the forest to those with the authority to take action?
  • How and why should governments, private sector and civil society organisation be involved, motivated and protected?
  • How do we ensure that denouncements and other information are of a suitably high quality to result in real action by the authorities or others?
  • Why has it been in the past that the authorities seem to take little action in response to reports from independent monitors? What can we do to change this?
  • What is IM's added value to FLEGT?
 

Agenda

14.30-16.00

Part 1: How IM improves forest governance?

Voices of field practioners:
  • Mardi Minangsari, Indonesia Independent Forestry Monitoring Network
  • Alfred Nkodia, CAGDF
  • Norah Bowier, SDI
  • Hop Bishop 
  • Serge Moukouri, Cameroon FLAG 
  • Ramon Álvarez, Honduras Trade Association
  • David Young, independent consultant  
Questions the moderator will ask each panelist to address:
  1. Explain how IM efforts in your country have contributed to improved forest governance?
  2. Comment on remaining challenges
PART 2: Concrete avenues to close the gap between observation and action
 
Law enforcement, Rune Hendriksen, LEAF
 
Views of field practioners:
  • Mardi Minangsari, Indonesia Independent Forestry Monitoring Network
  • Alfred Nkodia, CAGDF
  • Norah Bowier, SDI
  • Hop Bishop 
  • Serge Moukouri, Cameroon FLAG 
  • Ramon Álvarez, Honduras Trade Association
How IM REDD contributes to improved governance: an innovative approach in DRC, Serge Moukouri and Jean-Cyrille Owada.

 

Who is in it?

Ramón Álvarez, Honduras Trade Association

Álvarez is the head of the Honduras Trade Association and a former forest minister in Honduras. He is an agronomist and forester with a degree in forest and wood industry management. He has more than 20 years' working experience with the International Development Mission of the United States Agency in Honduras. Álvarez is currently working with the Honduras Lumbermen's Association, AMADHO, and with INTERGRO, a company that exports pine wood stakes for vegetable production, mainly tomatoes, in the United States of America.


Nora Bowier, Sustainable Development Institute (SDI)

Bowier is the coordinator of the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) in Liberia. Her experience centers on natural resource governance and community rights. From 2009 to 2011, she worked as the FLEGT VPA project leader at the SDI in Liberia facilitating communy participation and coordinating civil society engagement in the development of the Liberia-EU VPA. From 2012 she coordinated SDI's Community Rights and Corporate Governance (CRCG) program, engaging in research on the Liberia's social development funds, advocacy on community rights and benefits, and corporate social responsibility in the forest, mining and palm-oil sectors. She has a B.SC. in biology from Cuttington University in Liberia. 


Rune Henriksen, project LEAF

Henriksen has a PhD in international relations from the London School of Economics, where he published on combat motivation and armed groups in peer-reviewed journals. He has operational experience as a security advisor in Central Asia and Africa, including but not limited to investigation and development of law enforcement capability against transnational organized environmental crime. 

Mardi Minangsari, Indonesia Independent Forestry Monitoring Network

Minangsari is one of the co-coordinators of the Indonesia Independent Forestry Monitoring Network. She has worked for more than 15 years on  illegal logging and forest governance issues in Indonesia. Since 2004, Minangsari has been coordinating Indonesian civil society groups working on FLEGT. She is involved in developing the Indonesian timber legality assurance system. Minangsari is also involved in the Voluntary Partnership Agreement process between Indonesia and the EU as one of the civil society representatives in the Joint Implementation Committee. Since 2012, she has worked with the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) dealing with FLEGT in South East Asia region.


Serge Moukouri, Cameroon, FLAG

Serge Moukouri is a forest engineer by training and has spent more than a decade in the field of forest and governance monitoring. He has taken part in the implementation of Independent Monitoring of Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (IM FLEG) initiatives in different countries in the Congo Basin for international NGOs as technical assistant and project manager. He has a good knowledge of logging activities with which he has been in contact all this time as an independent monitor. He co-founded Legality Field Advisory Group, a sub-regional civil society organisation within the Congo basin which aims to strengthen and build capacity of nationals civil society organisations The organisation currently supports three partners in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congo Basin and Côte d'Ivoire in the framework of a project implemented under the EU FAO FLEGT Programme.


Indra Van Gisbergen, FERN

Gisbergen is a lawyer who specialises in human rights law. She worked as a defence lawyer with Avocats sans Frontières in Rwanda and was involved in various projects aiming to improve legal aid systems, governance and land rights in the Great Lakes region and address corporate accountability. In Kenya she worked with Médecins sans Frontières advocating for access to HIV drugs. Since 2010 she has worked with FERN as forest governance campaigner on EU policy making related to forest governance and supporting partners in the Congo Basin with work on FLEGT and REDD+ processes.


David Young, independent consultant

Young is an expert in civil society's role in forest governance, currently based in Ethiopia and working part-time as an international forests advisor at Global Witness. He first worked on community forestry projects in northern Ghana from 1987 to 1990, and since then has lived and worked in Nepal, Thailand, China and Ethiopia. He joined Global Witness in 2004 to lead its work on Independent Forest Monitoring and more recently has directed the programme ‘Making the Forest Sector Transparent.' Since leaving the UK he has undertaken consultancies for FERN, CIDT, and Rainforest Foundation UK on the role of local communities and civil society organisations in independent monitoring, mainly in Liberia, Cameroon, and Ghana. He is participating in this event in a private capacity.


Alfred Nkodia, CAGDF

Alfred Nkodia holds a degree in tropical forest management. He is leading the Congolese organisation Cercle d'Appui à la Gestion Durable des Forêts (CAGDF), founded in 2010 to focus on issues of forest governance and community rights, particularly in relation to independent monitoring. CAGDF has partnered with REM and Forest Monitor to implement a project called Independent Observation of the Implementation of the Forest Code and Forest Governance to Support the VPA FLEGT Process in the Congo Basin (OIFLEG). Based on this experience, CAGDF took over the role of the formal Independent Monitor in the Republic of the Congo within the VPA process.

Jean Cyrille Owada, Field Legality Advisory Group

Owada is a forest engineer by training. He has spent more than a decade in the field of forest and governance monitoring. He has taken part in the implementation of Independent Monitoring of Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (IM FLEG) initiatives in different countries in the Congo Basin for international NGOs as technical assistant and project manager. He has a good knowledge of logging activities with which he has been in contact all this time as an independent monitor. He co-founded Field Legality Advisory Group, a sub-regional civil society organisation within the Congo basin which aims to strengthen and build capacity of national civil society organisations. The organisation currently supports three partners in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congo Basin and Côte d'Ivoire in the framework of a project implemented under the EU FAO FLEGT Programme.


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