• New programme launched to help poor and vulnerable people cope better with crises

    12 January 2021
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    The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) is leading a new Foreign and Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)-funded programme which will inform policy and programming on how to help poor and vulnerable people cope better with crises including recurrent shocks, climate crises, humanitarian crises, protracted conflict and forced displacement.

    The new Better Assistance in Crises (BASIC) Research programme is led by IDS together with the University of Sussex and the Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) at the University of Wolverhampton.

    The programme is being managed by Rachel Sabates-Wheeler at IDS and Paul Harvey from Humanitarian Outcomes, alongside research directors, Jeremy Lind (IDS) and Rachel Slater from the Centre for International Development and Training.

    Paul Harvey said: “BASIC research is about finding ways to help people through provision of more effective social assistance in places where needs are most desperate, but where getting aid to people is hardest. Research in places such as Yemen, Iraq and Mali will explore ways in which humanitarian aid, social protection systems and adaptations to the climate crisis can work together to help people cope better with crises. We’re really looking forward to working on this critical agenda with the FCDO.”

    Over 80 million people now forcibly displaced around the world

    The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) recently announced that it estimated 80 million people are now forcibly displaced around the world as a result of persecution, conflict, and human rights violations., which continued unabated despite Covid-19.

    Harri Lee, Social Protection Adviser in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said:

    “We know that poverty is increasing — driven by conflict, climate change and now Covid-19. Crises are increasingly protracted or recurrent and humanitarian needs are rising, whilst financing and delivery models are mainly short-term and reactive. Social protection systems and approaches can help address these constraints; however, they are underutilised and one of the reasons is a lack of evidence.”

    FCDO are pleased to partner with the IDS-led consortium for BASIC Research. This work will strengthen the evidence on what works to effectively deliver social assistance in different crisis contexts, so that vulnerable people, in particular women, children and people with disabilities, can cope better with crises and meet their basic needs.”

    BASIC Research will look at:

    1. Routine, effective, and efficient delivery (what works)
    2. Financing and value for money – how can financing for basic assistance in crises by sustained, more nationally led, better value for money and less reliant on humanitarian aid?
    3. Principled and inclusive – what prevents social assistance reaching all those who need it and meeting the specific needs of vulnerable groups? How can coverage be extended?
    4. Politics and the role of the state – how can states best be supported to expand coverage and include refugees and other excluded groups and how can transitions to more nationally led social assistance be supported?
    5. Risks, accountability and technology – how can the risks and benefits of new technologies best be managed and how can accountability be strengthened?
    6. Climate and resilience – how can social assistance in crises contribute to greater resilience to shocks (including climate shocks) and support climate adaptation?
    7. Transformation – how can social assistance in crises aim to be transformative and promotive as well as protective?

    BASIC (Better Assistance in Crises) Research is an FCDO-funded research programme and will run from 2020 to 2024.

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    This article first published by the Institute of Development Studies on 12 January 2021.

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  • Online workshop supports development of the Moldova Decent Work Country Programme

    12 January 2021
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    In December 2020, Philip Dearden supported an online workshop in Results Based Management (RBM) and Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) as an integral part of the formulation of a new Decent Work Country Programme for Moldova. The workshop was sponsored by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and in attendance were 23 key representatives from the Government of Moldova, Trade Unions, Employers Organisations and the ILO.

    One key aspect of the workshop was to link the DWCP ‘upwards’ to the United Nations Partnership Framework (PFSD). This medium-term strategy and planning document articulates the collective vision and response of the United Nations system to national development priorities and details activities to be implemented in partnership with the Government of the Republic of Moldova, in close cooperation with international and national partners and civil society.

    Following the online workshop, results frameworks for the three key priority areas of the DWCP for the next three years in Moldova were developed. These were:

    • Inclusive and Productive Employment for Youth
    • Better Protection at Work
    • Improved Social Dialogue

    These frameworks will be further developed into a full and detailed DWCP by a series of agreed participatory actions over the next few months.

    Keeping virtual workshops engaging

    CIDT employs a participatory, practical approach in our workshops. Despite the challenges of working virtually, we are still able to be effective in this approach. Feedback on the workshop design and delivery was very positive with many participants commenting on how valuable the practical nature of the work was to their work in developing the DWCP:

    “Good friendly approach and many useful explanations.”

    “Positive interactive discussions.”

    “The active involvement really helps our understanding.”

    “The 7 key steps outlined are very useful.”

    “The problem definition and problem trees were really helpful in clarifying what we need to do.”

    “My understanding of how to develop indicators has improved dramatically.”

    The learning objectives of the ILO sponsored workshop were to provide a refresher on key concepts of RBM and M&E and practice their practical application as part of the formulation of a new Decent Work Country Programme for Moldova. Specific topics covered in the intensive multi-stakeholder workshop were:

    • The rationale for results measurement and the ‘results chain’
    • Seven simple planning steps and seven key questions to ask
    • Key concepts of results measurement and its application to key areas of intervention
    • Practical monitoring, review and evaluation tools

    Decent Work Country Programmes (DWCPs) promote decent work as both a key component of development policies and as a national policy objective of governments and social partners. The Moldova DWCP represents a medium-term planning framework that guides the work of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in a country in accordance with priorities and objectives agreed upon with its tripartite constituents.

    Below you can view some screenshots of some of the work undertaken.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • Webinar series on COVID-19 and the Forest Sector – Experience from Forest Communities of COVID-19 Impacts

    6 January 2021
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    On 28 October 2020, the FAO-EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade Programme hosted the webinar “Experience from Forest Communities of COVID-19 Impacts”. This virtual event was part of FAO’s Forestry Division’s webinar series on COVID-19 and the forest sector.

    The event presented the results of two Programme-supported field surveys carried out by the University of Wolverhampton’s Center for International Development and Training (CIDT) and by RECOFTC. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront a number of pressing global challenges. Health systems have been stretched thin and lockdown measures have taken a heavy social and economic toll, the devastating impacts of which are being felt by all – from urban residents of densely populated megacities to indigenous peoples living deep in the heart of forests.

    Recognizing that forest-based communities play a critical role as custodians of forest resources, the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme partnered with RECOFTC and CIDT to survey the immediate impacts of the pandemic on forest-based communities in several countries in Asia and Africa, including perceptions of law enforcement, as critical inputs towards designing suitable recovery programmes. Overall, the studies included both those communities that have community-designated forests and structures in place such as forest committees, and those that do not.

    The webinar presented the findings of these surveys and identified concrete actions to support forest-based communities, as a central part of forest-sector recovery efforts. Aurelian Mbzibain (CIDT) stated that Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) surveyed in the Congo Basin – Cameroon, the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo – also suffered negative impacts of COVID-19, revealing a higher proportion of women impacted, who reported both economic losses but also an increase in domestic violence. Dr Mbzibain remarked that respondents perceived a lower presence of government forest control activities on the ground and higher levels of illegal logging, and made several recommendations, such as the need to strengthen independent forest monitoring by civil society and the ensuing need to improve access to digital technologies.  Furthermore, Dr Mbzibain encouraged strengthening participatory processes that include IPLCs and women in post recovery investment planning, ensuring that legality, sustainability and inclusive development are at the forefront of the post-recovery agenda.  As a last recommendation Dr Mbzibain highlighted the need for strong monitoring of government and private sector commitments to the fight against illegal logging, deforestation and forest degradation.

    David Ganz (RECOFTC) highlighted the importance of forests as safety nets for local communities in times of crisis and the role of community forestry in protecting forests against illegalities. Respondents reported that  lockdown had reduced food security and livelihood options of forest communities surveyed. Like CIDT, RECOFTC also found that women have been more negatively affected by the crisis than men.  Dr Ganz highlighted that  where community forestry committees were present and functioning, these were able to support members to better cope with the social and economic impacts of the pandemic and to mitigate the threat of forest crime. He identified seven key actions that need to be taken to build the resilience of forest communities, including: (i) supporting and strengthening community forestry credit mechanisms; (ii) strengthen capacity of governments and community forestry committees for disaster preparedness and response; (iii) enable and equip community forestry committees to mobilize, use and disburse funds efficiently: (iv) mainstream gender equality in policies and investments; (v) strengthen capacity of community forest groups to tackle forest crimes; (vi) improve digital access to improve market access and enable disaster preparedness and response as well as market access; ( vii) focus on investment on approaches that improve both livelihoods and address climate change, such as landscape restoration and management.

    Similar findings to those of these two studies were reported by Sophie Grouwels (FAO Forest and Farm Facility) with regard to pandemic impacts on Forest and Farm Producer Organizations (FFPOs), including decreased incomes, food insecurity, displacement and loss of lives. Despite these challenges, the vital role of FFPOs in responding to the COVID-19 crisis – as suppliers and buyers of a broad basket of products, as providers of a range of social protections services (health, education and child care), and as facilitators of the flow of information between local, regional and national levels  – was underlined.

    The findings presented in the webinar confirmed, once more,  that communities’ role in oversight and sustainable management of forest resources is indisputable, and that stronger and better organized community structures, including FFPOs and forest monitor networks, have the capacity to build resilience for the future – resilience of both communities and of the forests themselves to withstand economic and environmental pressure. In this context, FAO remains committed to supporting COVID-19 recovery efforts which maintain long term efforts for legal and equitable forest sector with community interests and role at the centre.

    The webinar also included an active Q&A session, summarized in the document attached.

    The FAO-EU FLEGT Programme of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations is a global demand-driven initiative that provides technical support and resources for activities that further the goals of the EU’s FLEGT Action Plan. The Programme is funded by the European Union, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the United Kingdom

    This article first published by FAO on Wednesday 28 October 2020.

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  • The Future of Independent Forest Monitoring

    7 December 2020
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    This article first published on Chatham House Forest Governance and Legality.

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    Richard Nyirenda and Aurelian Mbzibain outline the current state of play of Independent Foresting Monitoring in Africa and set out recommendations for how it can continue to play a strong role in reforming the sector.

    Independent Forest Monitoring (IFM) has been part of global efforts to stop illegal logging, reduce deforestation and improve forest governance since the 1990s.

    There is a long history of IFM in Central and West Africa, but, while there have been significant improvements in forest governance, deforestation and forest degradation have nevertheless continued at an alarming rate.

    Yet, IFM in the Congo basin has progressed in leaps and bounds in recent years with a growing number of national and regional civil society organizations (CSOs) developing their expertise and strengthening their organizational capacities.

    IFM in the Congo basin has progressed in leaps and bounds, with a growing number of national and regional CSOs developing their expertise.

    With mainly funding from the European Union (EU), UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization-European Union Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FAO-EU FLEGT) Programme, these organizations have put in place financial management systems, gender policies, strategic plans and resource mobilization plans while also working to improve their technical knowledge and capabilities on forest monitoring and reporting.

    In Cameroon, for example, a strengthened IFM network has prompted increased government enforcement in the forest sector. Coordinated by the non-governmental organization, Forêts et Développement Rural (FODER), the Standardized External Independent Monitoring System network (SNOIE) has been implementing an ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System (QMS) since 2015. This provides for continuous internal and external independent audits, ensuring the traceability of all monitoring activities, as well as providing opportunities for continuous improvement and learning.

    In the Republic of Congo, the mandated independent monitoring organization – Cercle d’Appui à la Gestion Durable des Forêts (CAGDF) – has so far been carrying the torch for IFM in the country although a few other organizations are involved in non-mandated activities too.

    But, because of its formal agreement with the government, its remit is limited: it has mainly focused on forestry operations and it is not able to follow up on the enforcement of cases. This has meant it has had limited impact on the forest sector as a whole.

    However, a new ‘SNOIE Congo’ system, involving a network of Congolese NGOs, based on the Cameroonian experience, has recently been established. These complementary initiatives will increase the capacity for IFM thereby enabling it to play a greater role in strengthening the country’s timber legality assurance system and monitoring progress with implementation of the country’s Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA).

    In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Observatoire de la Gouvernance Forestière (OGF) has been working as the mandated IFM since 2013 and has established a nationwide independent monitoring network called the Réseau National des Observateurs Indépendants sur la Gouvernance Forestière en RDC (RENOI-RDC). In addition, OGF has also been piloting independent monitoring for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) initiatives.

    In Gabon, Brainforest has been undertaking independent monitoring investigations since 2017. This work has included the provision of legal assistance to communities to enable them to claim their rightful benefits from large-scale forest exploitation.

    Brainforest also coordinates a new coalition of eight community-based organizations and a community alert network of over 40 indigenous people and local community (IPLC) representatives throughout the country. The government has also made clear its commitment to inclusive land use planning, forest monitoring and forest governance, for example, through a 2017 Letter of Intent with the Central Africa Forest Initiative (CAFI) which provides a strong basis for further strengthening this work.

    It is important to consider the key themes and trends relating to the future of IFM and how it could better help to reduce deforestation and degradation.

    In the Central African Republic (CAR), the Centre pour l’Information Environnementale et le Développement Durable (CIEDD) began investigating forest sector legality in 2016 and found that there was very little law enforcement taking place. In response to this situation, CIEDD has undertaken forest monitoring in the country and has been implementing a number of tools to support the administration in fulfilling its oversight role, for example, establishing a Register of Infractions, a forest control manual and a forest and environmental crime working group.

    In light of these developments, it is important to consider the key themes and trends relating to the future of IFM and how it could better help to reduce deforestation and degradation.

    National level strategy

    One of the key lessons to emerge from the work in the region is the value of a national level strategy for IFM. In many of the countries, IFM is currently undertaken by a plethora of organizations using a range of different approaches and methodologies often with overlapping roles, conflicts of interest and without effective modalities for coordination. This reduces the credibility of IFM in the eyes of key stakeholders such as the government, private sector and enforcement officials in timber importing countries.

    In the Republic of Congo, for example, a strategic framework is being developed by CIDT and the CSO platform to bring all the independent monitoring organizations and stakeholders together. This is critical in ensuring that IFM is relevant and aligns with national forest and land use processes which in turn serves to build its credibility among stakeholders. A national strategy for IFM also helps to create a clear vision for CSOs to work towards and can reinforce ownership at the national level.

    A national strategy for IFM helps to create a clear vision for CSOs to work towards and can reinforce ownership at the national level.

    From observation to investigation

    However, IFM needs to expand from its traditional focus on observing infringements and infractions related to timber harvesting to more investigative and data-based analysis.

    Illegal deforestation and degradation is being driven by a range of economic activities and these encompass many new forms of forest crime. Current IFM methodologies must therefore evolve in order to address these.

    New investigative approaches and capabilities are also needed that will allow independent monitoring to investigate complex value chains and to follow the finance that is fuelling forest crime. This shift should include strengthening linkages with national and international anti-corruption structures, the judiciary and other government agencies, such as all Ministries of Finance.

    Within FLEGT and REDD+, a focus on the legality grid and safeguards would further strengthen the relevance of IFM and align it more strongly with national processes.

    Independent monitoring organizations must also embrace the use of new tools and equipment. Already some tools to monitor changes in forest cover have been deployed by these organizations. For example, FLEGT Watch, which uses radar satellite data by independent monitoring organizations in the region to monitor illegal logging and deforestation.

    Similarly, Forest Link enables communities to engage in real-time monitoring of economic activities in their forests and has been deployed in five countries in the region.

    Independent monitoring organizations also need to incorporate the use of innovative technology such as drones in their efforts to collect real-time data and credible evidence particularly where access to areas of interest is restricted.

    Beyond forests to other sectors

    There is an urgent need to extend IFM beyond forestry and to harness its investigative and analytical potential in the monitoring of decisions and actions in other sectors including mining and agricultural commodities.

    In Cameroon, for example, FODER is focussing on the mining sector while, in Gabon, Brainforest has undertaken monitoring missions targeting the large-scale agricultural sector.

    Elsewhere there is increasing demand particularly from consumer country stakeholders for IFM to be extended to the monitoring of commodity supply chains and zero-deforestation commitments.

    IFM could also enlarge its focus to encompass CITES listed species, for example, helping to ensure that CITES permits and quotas are respected. Lessons from monitoring the illegal wildlife trade (IWT) from the Eco Activists for Governance and Law Enforcement (EAGLE) network, such as collaborative law enforcement actions with the judiciary, also warrant further exploration.

    There is an urgent need to extend IFM beyond forestry and to harness its investigative and analytical potential in the monitoring of decisions and actions in other sectors.

    Congo basin countries have included forest-related targets in their NDCs and IFM will be important in monitoring the implementation of these targets.

    Experience of undertaking independent monitoring in the forest sector points to the critical role it plays in supporting indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) to claim their rights which constitutes important transferable learning particularly given the growing demand on land from agriculture and other sectors.

    Finally, Congo basin countries have included a range of forest-related targets in their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and IFM will also be important in monitoring the implementation of these targets.

    Legislative reforms

    Legal recognition of IFM is needed in many countries so that it is more widely accepted – both by government and industry stakeholders. In the Republic of Congo, IFM is provided for in the 2020 forest code while the CAR and Liberia VPAs both provide for IFM.

    However, in many other countries civil society-led independent monitoring still lacks legal recognition and acceptance. Legal recognition is of critical importance to help ensure access to public information and documentation and to provide protection for whistle-blowers which are both essential to the implementation of IFM. The establishment of a legally-binding commitment from governments to respond to IFM reports, therefore, is needed.

    Improving quality

    The development and certification of SNOIE in Cameroon has improved the quality of IFM and quality management systems should be developed and implemented in other countries in order to improve its implementation and credibility across the region.

    These systems do not necessarily need to be certified but, as a minimum standard, each independent monitoring organization should put in place a robust internal system that involves a third-party assessment mechanism. This will help to ensure that independent monitoring organizations are clear about what their objectives are i.e. why they are involved in IFM, what the change is that they want to see and what their expectations are with regard to their stakeholders.

    National and regional coordination

    Strong links between IFM and advocacy nationally and internationally is critical in the face of inertia and a lack of response from officials to ensure that the evidence generated is used by decision-makers for law enforcement.

    Regional IFM platforms such as the Plateforme Africaine de l’Observation Indépendante (PAOI) – a pan-African independent monitoring platform which brings together IFM organizations – are well-placed to support both national advocacy networks and regional and international advocacy movements through strengthening voice, capacity-building and participation.

    Furthermore, by linking with international activist organizations and media platforms, there is the potential to reach consumers of African-produced forest and agricultural commodities in other parts of the world to raise awareness of the role of their consumption behaviours in driving illegal deforestation and degradation.

    Strong links between IFM and advocacy nationally and internationally is critical in the face of inertia.

    Sustainable funding

    Sustainable funding for IFM remains a major challenge. So far, support has been sporadic and project-based thereby hindering efforts to build and embed the capability that is needed to ensure the sustainability of IFM activities in Africa.

    Drawing on lessons learnt in Indonesia, future funding of IFM could be considered under a Congo basin independent monitoring fund to support monitoring activities and capacity-building.

    IFM, and the generation of reliable forestry information, is a public good that requires long term funding.

    The PAOI network, given its regional coverage and expertise, is well-placed to manage such a fund and to provide training. IFM, and the generation of reliable forestry information, is a public good that requires long term funding and, a fund of this kind, would further strengthen both the independence and the reach of IFM.

    Ultimately, IFM plays a crucial role in fighting corruption, increasing transparency and detecting forest crimes and illegal land use. However, as an approach, IFM must continue to innovate in order to remain focused on the key drivers of deforestation and degradation. This will require those CSOs undertaking IFM to build new capacities and capabilities while sustained and sustainable funding will also be essential to enable CSOs to continue to fulfil their watchdog role more effectively in a rapidly evolving context.

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  • Facilitating strategic planning for the American Forest Foundation, online!

    30 November 2020
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    Video conferencing

    For more than three-quarters of a century, the American Forest Foundation (AFF) has helped family forest owners care for their land. Following this long history as a grant-making industry association the American Forest Foundation is currently in transition towards ways of working which are financially sustainable and achieve impact at scale. CIDT supported with a results-based planning approach leading to a simple, coherent and consistent analytical framework to underpin the planning of each work-stream.

    Pre-Covid19, such support may have been provided via a facilitated face-to-face workshop. However, in this new era of virtual engagement, thirty hours of planning workshops were facilitated online with the use of virtual flipcharts, polling and breakout rooms.

    CIDT’s Ella Haruna supported this series of facilitated collaborative workshops to support two AFF teams to develop their value proposition. The Biodiversity team is working to increase the number of landowners across the South actively and sustainably managing their forests, and the Western team is working to reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire in the West.

    The US South’s forests rank at the top of the world in terms of biodiversity and number of wildlife species. More than 500 wildlife species are at-risk due to years of conversion of forests to non-forest uses, fragmented waterways, and an influx of invasive species.

    In the West, frequent droughts and over grown forests are causing catastrophic wildfires, which strain forested watersheds and the water supply that comes from them. Protecting clean water is an urgent and pressing issue, with healthy forests acting as a natural water filter and storage system.

    By the end of the facilitated suite of workshops, the Biodiveristy and Western teams of AFF had:

    • been introduced to a suite of simple tools for results-oriented product design
    • identified the stakeholders in product design and the core focal problem to be addressed
    • analysed the root causes and effects of the focal problem and reframed these as solutions
    • used a range of objective criteria to scope out and prioritise strategic options
    • scoped out the ‘results chain’ and identified the risks to success and how these can be mitigated
    • identify success criteria (performance indicators) and independent sources of evidence (means of verification)

    Faced with growing threats to US forests, it is more important than ever that family woodland owners actively steward their land and protect our nation’s forest heritage. In collaboration with partners, AFF employs a number of strategies, programs and tools that help overcome the barriers to forest stewardship and engage more forest owners in conservation impact on the ground.

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  • Supporting the RNLI to chart a course for results

    30 November 2020
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    Most people are unaware that drowning causes the death of over 320,000 people globally every year (World Health Organisation 2017) leading WHO to label drowning as a ‘silent epidemic’. The RNLI International Department seeks to ensure that drowning prevention becomes a higher priority and better resourced in areas of the world with the greatest drowning burden.  Responding to this objective, they have developed two country programme strategies for engagement in Tanzania, Bangladesh and a third programme working towards global influence.

    CIDT has a long-term agreement with the RNLI International Department to strengthen capacity and CIDT’s Ella Haruna has been supporting the team to embed Project Cycle Management and Results-Based Management approaches in a number of ways.

    Over several months, we have provided technical assistance to firstly, develop the results framework for each programme and secondly, develop supporting frameworks for programme Monitoring Evaluation and Learning.

    • A results framework clearly articulates programme objectives at different levels, identifies risks and assumptions and explains how to measure and seek evidence for change.
    • A MEL framework is a very practical tool that elaborates what data will be collected, by who, when and the costs involved to support this.

    We also worked closely with the team to revise and review the International theory of change, to ensure that it articulates logic behind RNLI’s programme approach and that it reflects the theories of change in each programme. A results framework was also developed to measure the strategic outcomes at the Department level, with key performance indicators drawn up from the programme level in a technique known as ‘nesting’ of results.

    • A theory of change explores how we expect change to happen, through our project activities, in an existing situation. It shows the big picture with all possible, and complex, pathways.
    • Nested results is when results interlock or mesh at different levels, like ‘Russian dolls’ aligning results for the individual, team, project, programme, institution etc.

    Russian dolls

    Image: Matryoshka doll or babushka dolls, stacking dolls, are a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside another

    If you would like to learn more about Theory of Change, Results Frameworks or Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Frameworks then you may be interested in CIDT’s self-paced online learning courses.

    CIDT elearning portal

     

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  • Habiba Mohamed publishes article on Egyptian Parliament and the Covid-19 pandemic

    19 October 2020
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    Image credit: Timep.org

    This recent blog piece published by Habiba M. Mohamed, a Research Assistant at CIDT, on the Global Partners Governance’s blog (October 2020). The blog piece, entitled “Egyptian Parliament and the Covid-19 pandemic: an active parliament regardless of the crisis”, tackles the impact of the global pandemic on the Egyptian public authorities, especially the Egyptian parliament.

    Abstract

    Despite the global pandemic, the Egyptian parliament remained quite active during this period of widespread anxiety. The media often reported some MPs blaming citizens for the rapidly spreading virus by neglecting the government’s directives in following the basic rules of hygiene, ignoring social distancing and not wearing masks in public places; forgetting that the larger categories of the populations lack the proper spaces or resources to abide by these rules. It is notable that 11 MPs and their staff members have been affected by the virus. This blog piece briefly discusses the main actions and legislations passed by the parliament during the first wave of the novel Coronavirus (between March and September 2020).

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    Image credit: timep.org

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  • Sarah Thomas publishes article exploring civil society through the eyes of practitioners

    25 September 2020
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    This recent article by CIDT’s Sarah Thomas is published in ‘Development in Practice’  (September 2020). The paper, entitled ‘Singing from the same song sheet? Exploring “civil society” through the eyes of NGO practitioners’ presents findings from qualitative research undertaken with forest sector civil society organisations in the Central African Republic.

    View the full article online.

    Abstract

    Although historically a contested concept, it has been argued that civil society has become a victim of its own ubiquity in development; its potential for radicalism and innovation blunted by donor-driven narratives and the unquestioning acceptance of those narratives by donor-dependent NGOs. Donor influence is charged with weakening civil society as an arena for political debate and citizen-driven change. This article presents findings from qualitative research undertaken with forest sector civil society organisations in the Central African Republic. It unearths and examines perceptions of the roles and values of civil society among practitioners themselves and the underlying drivers of consensual or contested understandings.

    The photo below shows Sarah with the team at CIED, many of whom participated in the research. The photo at the top of the page shows a workshops for the network GDRNE, at which Sarah conducted interviews and data collection for the study.

     

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  • Join our webinar on sustaining momentum for FLEGT as part of a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic

    22 September 2020
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    Human society is enduring one of the greatest global health crises of the past century: COVID-19. As the urgency of tackling the pandemic took centre stage, policy issues such as the implementation of the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan and the Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) moved into the background.

    Meanwhile, logging, trade exports, manufacturing, and construction are continuing. Governments in Europe and VPA countries face a tough choice to balance the health and welfare of the population with meeting their governance and political commitments.

    About this event

    On 14 October 2020, Member of the European Parliament Karin Karlsbro – in collaboration with Fern, the Centre for International Development and Training, the Environmental Investigation Agency and the World Resources Institute, will host a webinar on the importance of sustaining momentum for FLEGT as part of a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Speakers from EU institutions, timber producing countries, the private sector and civil society will debate how to mitigate negative impacts the pandemic may have on governance and forest peoples’ rights, and how FLEGT can play a positive role in recovery plans.

    Agenda

    Host: Ms. Karin Karlsbro, Member of the European Parliament (Renew Europe Group), Chair of the “Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade” Monitoring Group, Fern, EIA, CIDT and WRI

    Moderation: European Forest Institute and Fern

    Language: The webinar will be in English. Simultaneous interpretation in French will be available.

    Panelists will include:

    Panel 1

    • Civil society/government representative from Indonesia – The dangers of deregulation and how to tighten checks (tbc)
    • Obed Owusu-Addai – Co-founder and Managing Campaigner, EcoCare Ghana – Lessons learned from the VPA process during COVID-19
    • Patrice Moussy, Head of Sector, Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, Unit Environment, Natural Resources, Water, European Commission – Harnessing FLEGT for a green recovery

    Panel 2

    • Francisco Javier Escalante, Vice-Minister of Forest Development of the Forest Conservation Institute (ICF) of the Government of Honduras
    • Benoît Jobbé-Duval, Executive Director, Association Technique Internationale des Bois Tropicaux (ATIBT)
      – Perspective from the private sector on mitigating impacts and upholding the law
    • Horline Njike, Secretary General, Field Legality Advisory Group and Essylot Lubala, Coordinator, Observatoire de la Gouvernance Forestière
      – Lessons learned from independent forest monitoring in times of crisis

    View original article on the FERN website.

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  • Literature review on illegal wildlife trade explores preventative measures

    9 September 2020
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    Illegal wildlife trade (IWT) involves the illegal capture, collection, hunting, poaching, trade and smuggling of endangered, protected wildlife, derivatives and or its products. It is estimated that around 75% of newly emerging infectious diseases are zoonoses derived partly from illegally harvested and traded species (Wang et al., 2020). The 2002-2003, severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS emerged from wet wildlife markets in China and subsequently spread worldwide caused by a zoonotic coronavirus. The Ebola epidemic in West Africa and the global COVID 19 pandemic are stark reminders of the global catastrophic impacts of trade in wildlife species.

    For the past ten years, the University of Wolverhampton’s Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) has been working in partnership with civil society organisations in the Congo Basin to strengthen forest monitoring and law enforcement and to address some of the underlying governance drivers which perpetuate these crimes. In 2018, CIDT and partners began to explore the synergies with wildlife monitoring and law enforcement. As part of this effort, CIDT conducted a review of the literature on illegal wildlife trade (IWT), looking particularly at local, regional and global responses and tools to combat IWT and related crimes.

    The review suggests that, given the failure of traditional regulatory and law enforcement options, complementary solutions need to be strengthened. These include a focus on alternative livelihoods; working with indigenous communities and civil society organisations on wildlife monitoring, investigations, and prosecution; and collaborative law enforcement with government agencies. The paper recommends significant targeted funding to fight corruption, improve transparency and strengthen government law enforcement capabilities as part of a post-COVID-19 recovery package.

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    Reference: Wang, H., Shao, J., Luo X, Chuai, Z., Xu, S., Geng, M and Gao, Z (2020) Wildlife consumption ban is insufficient, Science, 367 (6485) 1435, DOI: 10.1126/science.abb6463

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