Building capacity for civil society led forest monitoring in Central African Republic

6 November 2015
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The Central African Republic (CAR) is a landlocked country with about 4.6 million people. The country has a large environmental potential but years of socio-political crises have led to degradation and forest destruction with detrimental effects on the livelihoods of forest dependent communities. Additionally the contribution of the forest sector to national growth is therefore being undermined. The government has signed up the voluntary partnership agreements (FLEGT VPA) with the European Union to promote forest law enforcement, governance and trade in sustainably sourced time in a bid to reduce illegality in the country’s forest sector.

Civil society has an important role to play in monitoring the forest sector and commitments taken by the government. Unfortunately, civil society is weak and do not have the technical, financial and material resources to play this role effectively. It is for this reason the University of Wolverhampton (Centre for International Development and Training) and its partner in Central African Republic, CIEDD are strengthening the capabilities of civil society actors in forest monitoring through the EU-DFID funded “Congo Basin VPA Implementation – Championing Forest Peoples Rights and Participation” Project.

Following a national study on the state of transparency in the country’s forest sector, CIDT and its partner CIEDD organised a national training for 12 independent forest observers at the Institut Supérieur de Développement Rural (ISDR), M’Baiki in the Central African Republic. Participants received theoretical and practical training from experts on techniques for data collection, analysis and reporting on forest operations. Experts from our partner FODER Cameroon and the Ministry of environment and nature protection provided training on legal frameworks, legality assurance systems and geographic information systems. Field visits were organised to forest exploitation sites operated by IFB and SCAD companies during which participants were given the opportunity to learn from the company directors about forest exploitation and also to apply forest monitoring skills and tools. The project has provided graduates with necessary material required to carry out forest monitoring activities including GPSs, tape recorders, digital cameras, and other field equipment.

The first promotion of independent observers named “MUKULUNGU” promotion was presented to national stakeholders during a national event on the 03rd November, 2015 at Ledger Plaza Hotel. Participants included members of the national civil society platform, indigenous community leaders, forest exploitation companies, members of the diplomatic corps and media. The meeting was presided over by the Director of Cabinet in the Ministry of Forest economy, environment and tourism who lauded the efforts of civil society, technical and financial partners and offered government’s continuous support and efforts to reduce illegality in the country’s forest sector.

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Listen to an interview with CIDT’s partner in Central African Republic. [Source link]

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