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Project Background

Capacity Building in Congo Brazzaville Map of the Congo Basin area On this page: What is Independent Monitoring? | Project Objectives | Back to Introduction |

Phase 1 Forests cover 65% of the land surface of the Republic of Congo (RoC), and are a potentially very important source of economic and social development. Forests are a source of employment and income for the Congolese people and the State. The dynamism of the Ministry of Forest Economy (MEF) and the support from higher spheres of government have resulted in a forest policy based on sustainable forest use and ensuring the continued production of forest resources and the conservation of forest ecosystems. This forests policy was established by the 16-2000 law (see the FAO website for more details), dated 20 November 2000, of the forests code, and has gained the RoC a good international reputation.

Forests resources in RoC are under serious threat by the rapid growth of extractive activities and the industrial exploitation of natural resources – mining included, the deterioration of the quality of life for local populations, and the deterioration of governance. The degradation of forest resources would endanger the contribution that the forest sector makes to the national economy and the economic development of local populations, as well as taint the international image of the RoC.
At the Birmingham summit in 1998, the governments of the eight most industrialized countries (G8) agreed to implement a forests action plan to fight against the illegal exploitation of forest products and associated illegal trade, by taking measures both in producer and consumer countries. This initiative by G8 countries was put in practice with the create of the FLEG (Forest Law Enforcement and Governance) process, steered by the World Bank.

Furthermore, the FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) initiative was set up in 2002, this is a joint action plan for the fight against forest crime at the European level. The FLEGT action plan puts forward a set of measures to increase the capacity of developing countries to control the illegal exploitation of forests and to reduce illegal trade between these countries and the EU. The European Commission is firmly engaged in the fight against the illegal exploitation of forests and associated trade. The FLEGT action plan adopted in 2003 has the following objectives:

i) Promoting better governance

ii) The negotiation of Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) between the EU and partner countries

iii) The reduction of the demand for illegal timber and of investments encouraging illegal logging

African countries have addressed the issue of sustainable forest management (SFM) in various forums, notably at the Yaoundé Summit in 1999, during which the heads of state of various countries of the West Congo Basin agreed to work together to ensure the conservation of forests. In 2000, to implement this declaration, the ministers in charge of forests in the region adopted a regional convergence plan and created the Conference of Ministers in Charge of Central African Forests (COMIFAC).

By ratifying the Treaty on the Commission of Forests of Central Africa and other international agreements, the RoC has committed itself to work towards sustainable forest management within the framework of the convergence plan for the conservation and sustainable use of the Congo Basin Forests.

The MEF has committed to implement a project on ‘reinforcement of civil society capacity and implementation of an Independent Monitor of forest law enforcement and governance (IM-FLEG)’. The signing of an agreement between the MEF, Forests Monitor (FM) and Resource Extraction Monitoring (REM), on the 26th of April of 2007, creates Independent Monitoring (IM-FLEG) in RoC and lays out its implementation in the context of a three year project.

What is Independent Monitoring?

The term ‘Independent Monitoring’ often leads to confusion as it is used in different fields. There can be, for example, Independent Monitoring:

  • Of the state of the forest, through surveys of biodiversity changes

  • Remotely, using remote sensing, which provide data on forest cover at national or regional levels

  • Of trade in forest products

  • Of the allocation of exploitation permits

  • Of forest activities carried out by the Private Sector

  • It is important to note that independent monitoring in our Republic of Congo project includes two elements:

    1. Independent Monitoring of private sector activities, which relates to the detection of infractions, and

    2. Independent Monitoring of forest law enforcement systems and governance (IM-FLEG), which goes beyond the documentation of infractions. The monitor observes how forest law enforcement works during government field missions, administrative processes, the follow-up of cases of infractions, the application of laws and procedures as well as the publication of forest sector-related information.

    IM-FLEG published results can be interpreted and used by governments, international donors, timber buyers, local and international Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and forest exploitation companies which are concerned with improving governance and practices related to forest exploitation and law enforcement.

    More information on Independent Monitoring can be found on the REM website, our partners in this project.

    Project Objectives

    Objectives Expected results Activities
    Objective 1. To improve State control of logging activities and thereby increase sustainability of the forest resource and recovery of forest taxes in the Republic of Congo
    Result 1.1 Terms of Reference for collaboration are agreed with the government in the Republic of Congo Activity 1.1.1 Explore and develop Terms of Reference (ToR) including activities listed under the four objectives to formalise the relationship between the Independent Monitor and the government. ToRs have already been validated by the Republic of Congo government, on 25 July 2007.
    Activity 1.1.2 Organise information sessions for Ministry staff, the private sector, civil society on IM-FLEG
    Result 1.2 Information on illegal logging activities and the gaps in State control is available Activity 1.2.1 Undertake independent field missions
    Activity 1.2.2 Write field mission reports including summary findings and recommendations
    Result 1.3 The strategic deployment of the law enforcement services is improved Activity 1.3.1 Monitor, analyse and support the planning of field missions by the government’s law enforcement services
    Activity 1.3.2 Include analysis and recommendations in six-monthly IM-FLEG reports
    Result 1.4 Documentation of illegal logging by forest law enforcement services is improved Activity 1.4.1 Undertake joint investigation missions to monitor and analyse the functioning of forest law enforcement
    Activity 1.4.2 Write field mission reports including summary of findings and recommendations
    Activity 1.4.3 Support the development by the Ministry of Forests of a manual of law enforcement procedures
    Result 1.5 Actions are taken on cases of illegal activities in the Forest Sector and sanctions paid Activity 1.5.1 Monitor the follow up of documented cases of infractions
    Activity 1.5.2 Write analyses and recommendations to include in six-monthly IM-FLEG reports
    Result 1.6 Transparency in administrative processes of forest law enforcement is increased Activity 1.6.1 Facilitate and participate in quarterly meetings with representatives of the government, the international donor community and civil society, concerning findings of official Independent Monitoring and civil society monitoring. The meetings will review field mission reports and recommendations and progress achieved in the follow-up of already established cases
    Activity 1.6.2 Write six-monthly IM-FLEG project reports
    Result 1.7 Sustainability of the reform process is ensured Activity 1.7.1 Undertake consultations with governments and relevant members of the international donor community, with a view to financing a possible 2nd phase of the project
    Activity 1.7.2 Support fundraising activities at the beginning of the second year to support ongoing participation of civil society in monitoring and development of IM-FLEG in the Republic of Congo
    Objective 2. To increase civil society capacity to undertake IM-FLEG for national appropriation of progress in the ongoing reform process Result 2.1 Civil society capacity, potential and training requirements for monitoring are known Activity 2.1.1 Assessment of overall capacity and specific training needs. Identify training goals, training needs and training tools adapted to the target groups and specific context
    Activity 2.1.2 Propose and agree a comprehensive but amendable training program
    Result 2.2 Civil society's understanding of Independent Monitoring of the Forest Activity 2.2.1 Preparing basic training material
    Activity 2.2.2 Civil society's understanding of Independent Monitoring of the Forest Sector and its ability to systematically and objectively document illegal logging, is increased
    Activity 2.2.3 Write workshop proceedings, including constraints, progress made during the workshop and feedback questionnaires by participants
    Result 2.3 Increased civil society participation in and understanding of regional processes concerning illegal logging Activity 2.3.1 Preparation of policy briefings
    Activity 2.3.2 Regional policy workshop including representatives of associates, NGOs and Indigenous Peoples Organisations to discuss regional FLEG and FLEGT processes and proposed mechanisms of implementation including Independent Monitoring. Support elaboration of an NGO regional strategy to ensure coherence and sustainability of Independent Monitoring in the Congo Basin, and the effectiveness of its outputs
    Activity 2.3.3 Write workshop proceedings, including constraints and action points proposed during the workshop
    Result 2.4 Six representatives of civil society in the Republic of Congo have received advanced training in Independent Monitoring skills and techniques Activity 2.4.1 Selection of representatives within local NGOs in the Republic of Congo to constitute a shadow Independent Monitoring team for further training, and constitution of an advisory panel including representatives from civil society, the government and international donor agencies. The selection of members of the shadow team has been made by FM/REM and agreed by the Government on 5 October 2007
    Activity 2.4.2 Training on purpose, approach and methodologies of Independent Monitoring with special emphasis on monitoring and reporting methods and skills, as well as ethical issues regarding relationships with forest sector partners
    Activity 2.4.3 Mid-term and end of year report on the training programme
    Objective 3. To support legal, institutional and political reform in the forest sector in the Congo Basin through the regional development of IM-FLEG Result 3.1 Progress towards the adoption of Independent Monitoring in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo Activity 3.1.1 Contact government, civil society, international donor agencies and the private sector in target countries regarding the possibility for Independent Monitoring, plan scoping missions if appropriate
    Activity 3.1.2 Undertake scoping missions, if appropriate, in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo to discuss with the government, donors, private sector, local and international NGOs and local populations the Independent Monitor's function, possible institutional setting and role, adapted to national contexts.
    Activity 3.1.3 Write scoping mission reports, including summary of discussions, findings and recommendations
    Result 3.2 Sustainability of the reform process is ensured Activity 3.2.1 Support fundraising activities at the beginning of the second year to support civil society monitoring and development of IM-FLEG including their participation
    Activity 3.2.2 Support the identification of information conduits between governments, Independent Monitors and civil society in the region to encourage an exchange of information on cross-border trade, on improvements in forest law enforcement and on companies involved in illegal activities
    Objective 4. To increase transparency in corporate activities and law enforcement processes in the Congo Basin Result 4.1 Information about forest law enforcement and legal compliance in forest exploitation activities are available to the public Activity 4.1.1 Publish reports through partner's websites and Independent Monitoring websites
    Activity 4.1.2 Diffuse reports through mailings and press releases to consumer markets implementing mechanism of the FLEGT Action plan

    Back to Introduction page

    Funder's Site: EuropeAid Co-operation Office Home Page This project is being implemented with financial assistance from the European Commission, the Department for International Development, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and Projet de Renforcement des Capacites de Transparence et de Gouvernance, for a total amount of 2,103,493 Euros. Its content is the sole responsibility of Forests Monitor (FM), which co-ordinated the project, and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of our funders.

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      This page was last updated on the 5th March 2009

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