CIDT forest governance and capacity building experts Richard Nyirenda and Des Mahony delivered a Forest Governance and Training of Trainers course in Indonesia, hosted by Burung Indonesia from the 4-15 September 2017. The two-week training course was held as part of an EU funded project coordinated by Birdlife International. The project is also implemented in Malaysia, Philippines and Papua New Guinea.
The training course involved participants from civil society, private sector (Ecosystem Restoration Concessions) and government (Ministry of Environment and Forestry – Forest Management Units). Learning was focused on building the skills and understanding of participants on forest governance,as well as the development and delivery of training programmes. During the course participants had the opportunity to develop innovative and collaborative responses to governance challenges in Indonesia. At the end of the course, participants developed individual action plans on how they will integrate the lessons learned into their day to day work. Topics covered during the course included:
- Drivers of poor forest governance
- Corruption and criminality in the forest sector
- Timber legality assurance systems (TLAS)
- Forest governance monitoring and assessment
- Multi-stakeholder processes
- Communication and Presentation skills
- Training Needs Assessments
- Training and Learning Methods
The training course was officially opened by the Director General for Sustainable Management of Production Forests in the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Pak Djohan Utama Perbatasari. He highlighted that the training was critical in building the capacity of stakeholders in improving forest governance in Indonesia within the framework of both FLEGT-VPA and REDD+ and in supporting the Ecosystem Restoration Working Group to contribute positively toward the policy making process in Indonesia. Indonesia is the first country to issue FLEGT licenses since November, 2016.
Similar courses led by CIDT will be held in the Philippines, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea in the next few months.
With support from CIDT, the Faculty of Agronomy and Agricultural Sciences (FASA) at Dschang University has received funding from the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) to create new training courses in forest governance that will help to meet the EU-FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) requirements.
Having helped to develop this project, CIDT will contribute as a technical partner along with another organisation, the ‘Pole of Support to the Professionalisation of the Higher Education in Central Africa’ (PAPESAC). The participation of the University of Wolverhampton is in line with the implementation of the joint letter of intent signed between the Dschang University and the University of Wolverhampton in June 2016 (pictured above).
Training in the areas of forest governance and the environment been a priority for some years in Cameroon, thanks to the numerous national and international development opportunities in these areas, particularly regarding the transition to a green economy. However, since the VPA (Voluntary Partnership Agreement) with the European Union was initiated in 2011, capacity strengthening activities have been targeted predominantly at civil society organisations. This alone will not meet the levels expected for VPA implementation and for creating a system of sustainable governance of forest resources in Cameroon. Therefore, there is still a need for training current and future professionals in the sector, a need which this project addresses.
FAO, CIDT and PAPESAC are supporting Dschang University in the development of three training programmes in the field of forest governance, which have potential to be extended to the whole Central African subregion. The programmes consist of:
- Ongoing training for current professionals, aimed at updating their skills in relation to emergent problems in the forestry sector;
- A transversal training programme for students from non-forestry related subjects, such as the sciences and social sciences, in order to extend the culture of governance and forest governance to other disciplines;
- A forest governance training programme for HE students undertaking environmental and forestry degrees in Cameroon.
These programmes will be directed by a multidisciplinary team of researchers and teachers at Dschang University and will help raise the quality of current and future professionals in Cameroon.
A two-week training course on the concept of Independent Monitoring (IM) was organised in Libreville, from 21 August to 1 September 2017. The training aimed to strengthening capacities of stakeholders in the field of forest governance monitoring through the use of independent monitoring tools and techniques.
Involving both a theoretical and practical phase, the training was delivered to members of a CSO platform called ʺGabon, Ma Terre Mon Droitʺ, Forestry Administration and the technical staff of Brainforest. As part of the CV4C project, the training took place with the support of partner FLAG, which provided IM experts to lead the workshops.
There were discussions on presenting the concept and tools of independent monitoring, in order to improve the technical capabilities of the administration as well as Gabonese civil society in the monitoring and management of forest resources.
The training involved two phases: theoretical and practical:
During the four days theoretical training, learners individually trained on the concepts of Good Governance, Forest Governance and Independent Monitoring. A presentation, followed by exchanges in the framework of the national implementation of IM in Gabon and the possible fields of monitoring, also helped to inform learners on the major phases during the implementation of an Independent Monitoring.
Trainees discussed the methodology for planning and carrying out an Independent Monitoring mission, punctuated by exercises in the transcription of geographical information as well as legal analysis of information.
Mrs. Rose ONDO of CURFOD attended the workshops, “this training is very useful for the Gabonese civil society, at the time when we face several burning problems that affect communities; these include issues of land ownership and land grabbing by agro-industries, as well as issues concerning illegal logging, where communities are sometimes complicit.”
Referring to the role of the civil society, she further said that “the first thing to do is to go to the communities with the knowledge and tools acquired during the training in order to sensitise and supervise them so that they can actually enjoy their rights, and be able to be a source of information for the civil society by denouncing abuses and irregularities. To this end, we need to equip ourselves to understand the rights of the communities in the various texts and laws. ”
The practical phase consisted of the preparation and carrying out of an independent monitoring mission in a forest concession with assistance of the central and local forestry administration and the concessionaire. The exercise was divided into three actions: documentary research, interviews and on-site observation.
Mrs Horline NJIKE BILOGUE MVOGO considered the context of the training, “Brainforest is a partner in the CV4C project and has requested training in Independent Monitoring (IM). It is in this context that FLAG has programmed this training to share its experience with the Gabonese civil societyʺ. According to Mrs Mvogo, “IM is this right of view that every citizen has concerning its environment. As a citizen of the Congo Basin, I have the right and the duty to express my views on natural resources management, simply because I am the first to be impacted when they are poorly managed. Through the IM, the Civil Society finds a concerted, coordinated and coherent means to intervene in the monitoring of the good management of natural resources; IM therefore appears to be an instrument that everyone can appropriate.ʺ
For more photos from this event view the Flickr photo gallery.
As part of the framework of ‘Citizen Voices for Change: Congo Basin Forest Monitoring project’ in Gabon, a 20-day mission was initiated by Brainforest, beginning 16 July 2017. It took a general approach of presenting the project to stakeholders (territorial and technical administrations, local NGOs and local communities) to see what synergies could be developed during project implementation.
For ten days, the field mission team separately met with administrative and technical authorities, local communities of Cocobeach in the Estuary province, as well as those of Ngounié and Nyanga. These initial meetings led to a strong awareness of local communities on “the interest to act towards the protection of forests against the dangers of deforestation by their direct involvement in forest monitoring activities”. This outreach tour to promote awareness will continue within the provinces of Ogooué-Ivindo and Woleu-Ntem.
This initial mission, which culminates on 4 August 2017, and whose main action is to identify ways of collaborating with specific stakeholders, will make it possible to later identify priority areas for forest monitoring in Gabon. The ultimate goal being the attainment of “improving the quality and availability of information from independent sources on compliance with legal standards in forestry and land tenure”.
“Citizens Voices for Change: Congo Basin Forest Monitoring project” (CV4C), whose official launch took place on 24 April 2017 in Kinshasa, has been implemented thanks to financial support from the European Union, the World Resources Institute (WRI), as well as technical support of the CIDT of the University of Wolverhampton. This four-year project aims to strengthen the contribution of Non State Actors (NSAs), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Indigenous Peoples (IPs) and local communities – in Improving forest governance and sustainable forest management (SFM) within the five countries of the Congo Basin ( Gabon, Cameroon, DRC, and Republic of Congo).
The Chairman of the Somali Ecological Society, Mohamoud Ibrahim and the Head of CIDT, Professor Philip Dearden signed an important Memorandum of Understanding on 27th July 2017.
During a visit to CIDT by seven members of the Somali Ecological Society, the two organisations agreed to work together for the rebuilding of Somalia especially in relation to Capacity Strengthening in Natural Resource Management and Climate Compatible Development.
The Somali Ecological Society (SES) is a non-profit environmental NGO set up in the 1980s to promote the conservation of flora and fauna in Somalia and the sustainable utilisation of Somalia’s natural resources.
The SES members reside in Somalia as well as in the Diaspora; – many are PhD and Masters holder in the natural sciences, with strong links with the Somali Government (both South and North).
The Somali Government is seeking assistance from the SES to help rebuild national capacity of the natural resources sector after 30 years of civil war. In turn the SES have asked CIDT to partner in this task because of long-standing historic links. In the 1980s a number of CIDT staff were actively engaged in capacity strengthening of the natural resources sector in Somalia through training and education. A number of SES members are alumni of the University of Wolverhampton having studied at CIDT in the 1980s.
CIDT supports Forest Media Awards: Journalists rewarded for their writings at the service of forest governance
16 Cameroonian journalists were honored at the 3rd edition of the Forest Media Awards, on the 15th of June 2017 during a prestigious ceremony organized at the Hilton Hotel in Yaoundé. ForMA is a competition designed to reward journalists for their efforts to raise awareness on issues related to forest governance and climate change. It is an initiative of the association Forests and Rural Development (FODER). Like the two previous editions, ForMA was under the patronage of the Ministry of Communication and the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife. Two prizes were therefore in competition for this edition: an Open prize and an AFR Special prize. It was organized with the financial support of the project “Citizens’ Voice for Change: Forest Monitoring in the Congo Basin” (CV4C).
The introduction of this Special prize related to the Annual Forest Royalty (AFR), was among the major innovations of this edition. Through this award, FODER wanted to reward journalists who, with their pen, contributed significantly to the advocacy for the restoration of the Annual Forest Royalty share intended to the communities, removed in the finance law of the 2015 budget exercise. The advocacy carried out with journalists’ support permitted to reintroduce it in part in the finance law of the 2017 budget exercise, up to 6.75%.
So, the journalist Pierre NKA of the daily newspaper quotidien de l’Economie climbed the first step in the AFR written press category. The best of the radio category of this same prize, is Georges Tsayid, from Metoung Radio in Abong-Mbang. For the open prize, Eugène NDI, Eden Newspaper, Viviane BAHOKEN from Africa 24, Ebenizer DIKI from RTS and Madeleine NGEUNGA of Madyngeunga.over—blog.com respectively received the winning-prize in the print media, television, radio and online media categories.
The first of each category of these prizes was honored with the amount of 500,000 FCFA. And, their media respectively received an envelope of 300,000 FCFA each. As for the second and third of each category, a professional dictaphone was given as a reward.
Article by Christelle KOUETCHA, FODER
CIDT and project partners FODER and World Resources Institute led a session on Independent Forest Monitoring (IFM) at the Chatham House Illegal Logging update in June 2017.
Following introduction by the Chair of the Session, Duncan Brack, Dr Aurelian Mbzibain in a scene-setting presentation, gave participants an overview of the state of forest monitoring in the Congo Basin and implications for forest management and due diligence decision making.
Through its ongoing Citizen Voices for Change: Forest Monitoring in the Congo Basin (CV4C) project, CIDT and its partners FODER and World Resources Institute (WRI) led the session on the role forest monitoring in improving transparency in the forest sector.
FODER (Cameroon) presented a case study on the impact of the SNOIE independent forest monitoring (IFM) system, while WRI introduced the Open Timber Portal (OTP). The OTP is being developed as part of the European Union funded CV4C project and will provide a one stop shop for forest monitoring data from project partners in the Congo Basin. Then the discussions centred on improving the credibility and practice of civil society led forest monitoring in order to increase the uptake of IFM outputs by stakeholders.
This two-day meeting (19-20 June 2017) organised by the Think Tank Chatham House, is part of a series of illegal logging update meetings that bring together participants from civil society, industry and governments from around the world. It brought together over 250 participants with the aim of providing an update on global efforts to improve forest governance and reduce illegal logging. Topics on the agenda included:
- Timber trade regulations – approaches from around the world;
- Update on the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) action plan and Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) countries;
- Recent developments in China to tackle the trade in illegal timber and promote responsible overseas investment;
- Improving transparency through forest monitoring and satellite technology.
Photo by Interpol. See more photos on the Interpol website.
CIDT’s work on forest governance and forest monitoring was recognised when it was invited to attend an international conference organised by Interpol. One of the key outcomes of the conference was the establishment of a specialised international working group on forestry crime. CIDT will be part of this working group through the NGOs and Civil Society Stakeholder platform.
The three-day (12-14 June) Global Forestry Crime Conference gathered some 100 representatives from the timber industry, financial institutions, investigative non-governmental organizations, and law enforcement agencies to shape a transnational response against the ‘business’ of forestry crime.
The conference held at INTERPOL’s General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, France highlighted the need for national and international law enforcement agencies to engage with the global network of NGOs, financial institutions, and the timber industry to identify priorities, share best practices and coordinate activities.
Opening the conference, the INTERPOL Executive Director of Police Services Tim Morris said: “Criminal intelligence held by INTERPOL confirms that the same routes and modus operandi used for the illegal trade of timber are also used for the illegal movement of commodities such as drugs and protected wildlife.” Mr Morris added that, “It is important that investigations into forestry crime target the kingpins who control the networks and finance the illegal logging operations as a business. We must acknowledge the extent to which organized criminal networks are involved with corporate crime, and increase transnational, multi-agency cooperation and investigations.”
Over the 3 day conference CIDT representative and Independent Forest Monitoring Expert on the Congo Basin Forest Monitoring project, Richard Nyirenda also held meetings and discussions with other experts from the private sector, international NGOs and national enforcement agencies. The discussions centred around how the Congo Basin Forest Monitoring project could partner with other experts so that it can effectively undertake its monitoring and capacity strengthening activities by focussing on financial flows, corruption, engagement with law enforcement agencies and applying technology based solution in forest monitoring.
Today the Centre for International Development Training (CIDT), University of Wolverhampton launches a set of training materials to support forest monitors around the world.
The online Independent Forest Monitoring (IFM) training materials comprise over 30 presentations, group exercises and handouts arranged in four main modules: context, setting up an IFM initiative, implementing an IFM initiative and using what you find. In addition the website provides modules on setting up an IFM training course and ‘Next Steps’ to help ensure learning is put into practice. To complete the set there are three model timetables providing options for a two- four- or nine-day course.
The materials are primarily aimed at civil society organisations and other practitioners of Independent Forest Monitoring, in order that they can provide high-quality training workshops. They can be downloaded and used by trainers and trainees alike, and are a useful reference for anyone involved in IFM to understand more about particular aspects they might be interested in. For example each module can be accessed individually to suit particular training needs, or a complete set in a zip file can be downloaded at the click of a button. The open and modular nature of the materials – along with key learning objectives for each section – also allows them to be adapted to local circumstances or specific trainees’ needs. For this reason and to make them faster to download they contain very few images or local content.
The training materials have very-much been developed from experience, drawing extensively on the work of experienced IFM trainers and practitioners, and each PowerPoint presentation comes with extensive presenter’s notes. They are the product of numerous training courses run over the last decade, including the Independent Forest Monitoring component of CIDT’s popular Improving Forest Governance course as well as those offered by Forets et Développement Rural (FODER), Global Witness, and Resource Extraction Monitoring (REM). They have been collated by David Young.
In addition to these organisations, the production and publication of these materials has been made possible in part through the financial assistance of the European Union and UK Aid provided to CIDT (through SAFG, EUCFPR and CV4C projects), and Global Witness between 2014 and 2017.
For enquiries or further information, please contact CIDT’s Richard Nyirenda.
Representatives from all 8 partner organisations of the Citizen Voices for Change: Forest Monitoring in the Congo Basin project came together for the first time for the CV4C Project Launch and Action-planning workshop, held in Kinshasa from 24th-28th April.
The five-day workshop marked the end of an intensive four month project inception period during which a series of needs assessments were undertaken in each of the 5 project countries. These included an organisational needs assessment, gender audit and forest monitoring capacity assessment with partners, and an institutional needs assessment with national civil society platforms.
Days 1 and 2 of the workshop provided an opportunity for partners to review and discuss the outcomes of the needs assessment process as well as preliminary findings from the baseline study. Country teams then worked together to formulate their Year 1 action plans, responding to the institutional and technical needs identified, as well as the key governance challenges in the forest sector in their respective countries. All action plans were presented and discussed, allowing partners to explore ideas for cross-border and regional collaboration and for organisational peer support.
Following the official project launch ceremony on Day 3, attention turned to internal management and coordination systems. The structure of each partner organisation’s project team was presented and mechanisms for communication at organisational level, and across the consortium were discussed. Financial management and accounting procedures were also reviewed in a session led by the finance managers of project partners FODER and FLAG, and the composition and Terms of Reference of the Project Steering Committee were established. Finally partners had an opportunity to input to the draft project communication strategy and to share innovative ideas about how to promote awareness of the project and to influence change, both nationally and across the region.
A few photos from the workshops are shown below. You can view the full photo album online at Flickr.