• The Sustainable Development Goals – how Higher Education can play its part

    23 July 2021
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    At the request of The Millennium Universal College (TMUC) Islamabad, Pakistan, Prof Philip Dearden, the Head of CIDT joined a discussion on the roles of Higher Education in delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Philip debated this important question with M. Ali Kemal from the Ministry for Planning Development and Special Initiatives and Arif Masud Mizra, Regional Head of Policy MENA ACCA.

    You can watch the full webinar on LinkedIn.

    The fast moving session was moderated by Sarina Shirazi, Head of Social Sciences and Noorulain Zafer, Head of the Professional Qualifications & Career Development Center at TMUC.

    This TMUC Talk webinar provided the case for building, strengthening and institutionalizing university partnerships with governments and communities to achieve the SDGs. The speakers discussed how a change in mind sets and culture in both academia and government can be brought about, and invited all parties to start the dialogue, if we are to rise up to the global challenge.

    During the discussion Philip made a series of important points about the Higher Education and the SDGs. These include the following:

    1. A key feature of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is its universality and indivisibility. The Agenda addresses all countries – from the Global South and the Global North – as target countries. All countries subscribing to the 2030 Agenda are to align their own development efforts with the aim of promoting prosperity while protecting the planet in order to achieve sustainable development. Thus, with respect to the SDGs, all countries can be considered as developing and all countries need to take urgent action. This very much includes both the UK and Pakistan.

    2. When asked about which is the most important goal, the simple reply was that no one goal is more important than any other. Indeed it was noted that the most important feature of the SDGs is that they are interlinked. If we are going to deliver on one we have to deliver across the board. E.g. we cannot deliver on development if we do not have peace and security in place. We should not be delivering creating decent work and jobs if these jobs are going to destroy the environment. The SDGs are all intertwined and interlinked.

    3. The important role of universities in both educating their students about the SDGs and in actually contributing to the SDGs is slowly being realised. UNESCO led the way in this regard with the publication of a set of Learning Objectives for the SDGs (UNESCO 2017).

    4. It was noted that back in 2017 Philip was advocating that the 17 SDGs should be the curriculum that we teach in universities. It was further noted that this important point is now being picked up and there has been a lot of recent rapid change. There are now many resources available to assist curriculum development involving the SDGs.

    5. It was also strongly noted that the role of higher education in creating awareness of the SDGs is critical. Our students need to know about the SDGs and they need to know about them in some detail see this example.

    6. Graduating students may go onto work in the business sector, in civil society organisations or the government sector. Wherever they go they need to have a good understanding of the SDGs and the importance of us all delivering them. This is as true in the UK as in Pakistan. There are four very good reasons why all students need to learn about the SDGs:

    • Students need to learn about the world.
    • Students must be active participants in the world they live in.
    • Students grow empathy and compassion.
    • Students and teachers are inspired to take action.

    7. It was also noted that in Higher Education we all need to be implementing the SDGs through the 3 Cs – the Campus, the Curriculum and the Community. Our campuses need to be beacons of sustainability. Our curricula need to cover the SDGs and we need to work with local communities as part of the civic responsibility role that we all hold. We need to drive understanding of the SDGs. We need to get staff and students debating issues around the SDGs and get both staff and students taking clear ownership of the SDGs relevant to their own subject disciplines.

    8. Many universities are working both locally and globally towards the SDGs. The phrase ‘working glocally’ has been used in relation to the University of Wolverhampton.

    9. The University of Wolverhampton is engaged with the SDGs in a number of ways. We strongly believe we are providing a quality education to our 23,000 students. Some 11% of these are international students who study on our campuses here in the UK. In addition we now have a wide range of Transnational Education (TNE) Programmes.

    10. The Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT), a specialist, not-for-profit, self-financing development centre within the University has the SDGs at its very focus. The staff of CIDT believe that Higher Education is about pushing at the frontiers of knowledge, to enable economic growth and create a democratic and inclusive society. CIDT staff are at the edge of this frontier, practicing a dynamic and alternative approach to teaching, research and knowledge transfer. The centre has successfully adapted the traditional model of the University to meet the technical and capacity development needs of economically developing countries. It embodies the spirt of UK higher education in a significant yet atypical way. The centres organisational model relies on the international quality of its programme deliverables and integrity of its international development approach. The Centres capacity development support to education, lifelong learning, “green growth” and environmental governance is rooted in sustainable partnerships – not as “experts” but to empower its project partners, to unlock their potential and enhance capabilities. Its work is based on challenging principles, which are innovative in international development programming and have been commended as a major factor in programming success (DFID 2013). The CIDT’s focus for the period 2000 to 2015 was the MDGs. The CIDT is now very much focused on the SDGs, especially Goals 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, 13, 15, 16 and 17.

    11. Research to provide the necessary knowledge, evidence base, solutions, technologies, pathways and innovations to underpin and support the implementation of the SDGs is critically important. Research needs to be done through both traditional disciplinary approaches and newer interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches; providing capacity-building for developing countries in undertaking and using research; collaborating with and supporting innovative companies to implement SDG solutions; improving diversity in research; and training students for sustainable development research. Some Universities are focussing their research agenda and strategies around the 17 SDGs. See the University of Wolverhampton presenting research at the House of Lords.

    12. In 2018 the Times Higher Education new global Ranking of “Impact and Innovation” was been published. This new and innovative ranking looked at how Universities are delivering against the SDGs. In the first year, 11 SDGs out of the 17 were used with 47 metrics out of a possible 199 metrics and 111 measurements chosen out of 223 targets. This new ranking system looks at three ways in which Universities contribute to society. Through:

    • Research – Creating knowledge to address the world’s problems
    • Stewardship – managing resources, teaching well – the good university.
    • Outreach – directly acting in society.

    In summary it was noted that a Universities have a unique and critical role in helping the world achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through their research, teaching, operations and outreach/community leadership.

    On a practical front two new SDG initiatives related to Universities require a mention:

    1. A new guide from SDSN Accelerating Education for the SDGs in Universities is strongly recommended. This guide aims to help universities, colleges, and tertiary and higher education institutions implement and mainstream education for the SDGs within their institutions.
    2. The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) has launched a campaign to show the world what universities are doing for our planet. Their campaign – #UnisForOurPlanet – highlights the important work that universities, students and researchers are spearheading across the Commonwealth to tackle climate change.
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  • Analysing the mechanisms to fight against wildlife and forest crimes in Cameroon

    22 June 2021
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    African elephant

    “In Cameroon, illegal logging is estimated at 33% of overall log production, while the annual financial loss is estimated at around 33 billion CFA francs [around 4 million GBP], excluding biodiversity losses”, says Ghislain Fomou, an expert in Natural Resources Management in Cameroon and the lead author of the policy brief.

    “In this climate, where Cameroon has subscribed to various international and regional instruments and is implementing various public and private initiatives to fight against illegal logging and wildlife trade, namely FLEGT-VPAs, CITES, ECOFAC, Independent Monitoring etc., there are questions on the effectiveness of all these initiatives on the ground.”

    In this context, a study has been jointly co-commissioned by CIDT, under the Forest Governance, Markets and Climate (FGMC) Programme, funded by FCDO and the project ‘Strengthening Forest and Wildlife Law Enforcement in Central Africa’ (RALFF), funded by the European Union and implemented by Conservation Justice (CJ). “The objective of this study is to assess the operational constraints faced by the mechanisms to fight against illegal logging. This study was specifically aimed at monitoring and identifying illegal forest and wildlife related practices, analysing the extent to which operational monitoring systems address illegal practices and propose solutions to strengthen the systems in place”, says Dr Aurelian Mbzibain, Team Leader of Climate, Forests, Agriculture and Wildlife at the Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT).

    “This policy brief is based on an extensive field study”, says Fomou, “which covered the Lom and Djerem and the Upper-Nyong divisions in the eastern region, as well as the of Dja and Lobo division of the southern region in Cameroon”. The study has also involved interviews with key stakeholders in the fields of fighting wildlife and forestry crimes, including government officials, representatives of the civil society and members of the local forestry communities.


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  • The Serbian Trade Union movement is at a crossroads – CIDT facilitates strategic planning through an intensive virtual support

    16 June 2021
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    The trade union movement in Serbia is currently at a crossroads. It faces declining memberships, challenges in securing trade union rights, and technological and economic changes which affect the nature and type of jobs. For the unions to become stronger and more representative, the old ways of working need to change.

    The Covid-19 pandemic has led to further change in the external environment in which trade unions operate, and the movement needs to revisit how to support members and adapt their operations in order to be efficient and fit for purpose.

    Working through a virtual delivery mode, Head of CIDT, Philip Dearden supported a Results Based Management (RBM) workshop as an integral part of the development of a new strategy by the CATUS Forestry Trade Union in Serbia. The workshop was sponsored by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and brought together 25 key Trade Union members, in Belgrade alongside ILO staff members and several key speakers.

    Workshop approach

    The key learning objective of the workshop was to examine the key concepts of RBM and apply these in the development of a new strategy for the Autonomous Trade Union of Forestry and Wood-Processing Industry Workers of Serbia. As a result of the workshop, the longer term strategic impact, outcome and outputs were developed as   a results framework. Key indicators were also developed so that the essential monitoring of strategic progress can be undertaken over the next few years.

    The framework will be further developed into a full and detailed strategy entitled “A Trade Union equipped for the Future” by a series of agreed participatory actions over the next few months.

    The recently published ILO working paper Trade Unions in the Balance presented by Rafeel Peels of the ILO proved to be a good starting point for this discussion. This paper authored by Jelle Visser describes the current situation of the trade union movement, its key challenges, and four possible scenarios for the future of trade unions:  “marginalization”, “dualization”, “replacement”, or “revitalization”. The paper discusses ways trade unions can achieve revitalization, the preferred strategy that the Serbian forestry trade union.

    International experience on the recent modernization of Trade Unions in Austria, was shared by Christian Folzer and Martina Schneller, illuminating suggestions for further positive action.

    Specific topics covered in the intensive workshop were:

    • Current concepts of results based management and their relevance to the Union,
    • A strategic planning framework structured around seven simple planning steps,
    • Undertaking a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) Analysis,
    • The development of a clear short and long term objective for the Forestry Union using the Results Chain
    • The development of relevant key indicators to measure strategic change and practical monitoring, review and evaluation tools.

    The workshop was  opened and closed by Jovan Protic, National Coordinator, ILO Serbia; Magnus Berge, ILO Sr Worker Specialist, Central and Eastern Europe; and Zoran Radoman, President of the CATUS Forestry Union.

    Video from the workshop

    Screen shots of some of the participants and presenters:

    The workshop being closed by Magnus Berge, ILO Sr Worker Specialist, Central and Eastern Europe and Zoran Radoman, President of the CATUS Forestry Union. 


































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  • Tackling the question of why illegal logging persists in the Congo Basin

    27 May 2021
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    Aerial photo of forest village

    “Within the forestry sector, the law aims to guarantee respect for the balance provided for between commercial logging, conservation and community uses”, declares Samuel Nguiffo, a lawyer with specialist expertise in natural resources law.  According to Mr Nguiffo, forestry law seeks to ensure sustainability from economic, ecological and social dimensions. Despite the existence of many laws and regulations, illegal logging persists in all the countries of the Congo Basin. It is estimated that between 50% and 90% of timber produced in the Congo Basin countries could be illegally harvested.

    In a new policy brief entitled “The judge and the forest in Central Africa: why does illegal logging persist and escalate in the Congo Basin countries?”, Mr Nguiffo presents an analysis of the forest laws and penal code of four Central African countries: Cameroon, Gabon, Central African Republic and the Republic of Congo based on a more extensive study in the four countries. The study was commissioned jointly by CIDT, under the Forest Governance, Markets and Climate Programme (FGMC) Programme, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and the project Strengthening Forest and Wildlife Law Enforcement in Central Africa (RALFF), funded by the European Union and implemented by non-government organisation Conservation Justice (CJ).

    “The objective of this study was to understand the reasons for the persistent impunity of forest law offenders in specific countries, due to the recurrence of illegal logging activities”, says Dr Aurelian Mbzibain, Team Leader of Climate, Forests, Agriculture and Wildlife at the Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT).

    “The main question we wanted to explore with this study is whether the infractions observed in the forestry sector are the result of failures in law enforcement or a weakness in the law itself.”

    The study found that the increase in logging activities seem to be explained by the peculiarities of the repressive system in the forest sector, which has ensured immunity of violators of the legislation: weakness of regulatory standards, which does not include all infringements or penalties to cover all the obligations imposed on loggers, in principle, as well as the marginalisation of the judge in managing litigations.


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  • Creating learning products that help Caribbean Governments respond to shocks

    19 May 2021
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    Trees in hurricane

    The Caribbean region is especially susceptible to a wide range of natural hazards – droughts, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and landslides – leading to an estimated US$3 billion in annual losses. Shocks that affect a large number of people simultaneously, such as the recent volcanic eruption in St Vincent and the Grenadines, require appropriate assistance mobilized rapidly and effectively to those in need.

    The World Food Programme (WFP) manages a large portfolio of programmes and activities on Shock-Responsive Social Protection (SRSP) in the Caribbean to strengthen regional and national emergency preparedness and response capacities. As part of this engagement, WFP is developing a training programme to equip practitioners and policymakers to better understand the role of social protection and disaster risk management in preparing for, responding to and mitigating the impact of shocks.

    The Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) at the University of Wolverhampton has been contracted as a learning partner to design these face-to-face, online and self-paced distance learning solutions aimed at building participants’ knowledge, skills and competencies to prepare social protection systems ahead of shocks and to respond to emergencies through the social protection sector.

    CIDT are preparing a series of deliverables working in close collaboration with WFP including: curriculum and training resources to deliver a webinar series, face-to-face training, including a train the trainer input and self-paced online learning modules.

    The first important step was the development of a programme learning framework as team leader Ella Haruna explains:

    “We worked closely with WFP and consulted regional stakeholders to map out the ‘learning journeys’’ of each of the target groups, who may engage with the programme in different ways. The Framework details these learning pathways as well as the targeted training audience, the learning ‘gaps’, the training aims and objectives and the specific learning approach and training methods. We developed a schema of how the different components of the learning programme are to work together to deliver the desired impact and outcome. This learning framework essentially represents the road map for programme design and is the means to ensure that the different components of the training programme come together to create impact at scale… to become more than the sum of their parts.”

    The CIDT team includes Prof Rachel Slater and Daniela Baur and is comprised of social protection experts, capacity strengthening experts and specialists in graphic and online course design.

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  • Talking foreign aid budget cuts with Voice of Islam Radio

    4 May 2021
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    UK aid packages

    On 30th April 2021, CIDT’s Professor Philip Dearden appeared on Voice of Islam Radio’s Drive Time show to speak with hosts Raza Ahmed, Qayyum Rashid and Hanif Khan in a special show on foreign aid.

    Listen to the full interview below and the full show here, which also features Dr Colin Alexander (Senior Lecturer in Political Communications at Nottingham Trent University), Stuart Butler-Smith (founder of schoolsmith.co.uk and Farzana Zafar Akbar (secondary school teacher).

    Speaking about budget cuts in foreign aid, Phil noted how aid from many countries is increasing, for example recent 2020 OECD figures show foreign aid spending rising 3.5% in real terms compared with 2019, including increases of 11% in France and 14% in Germany. However, in the UK our aid budget has been savagely cut, at a time global extreme poverty is expected to rise due to compounding effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Humanitarian aid cuts of 60% to war torn Syria have been especially brutal.

    A large ongoing three-year development project in Somaliland that several CIDT colleagues are working on has been notified of forthcoming cuts just as delivery gets into full flow. The project is supplying much needed services including water, sanitation, and important health inputs. Cuts will most impact the poor and marginalised communities.

    On these changing UK priorities Phil noted:

    “We are talking about the UK’s FCDO moving away from providing international aid to reduce poverty in some of the world’s poorest communities to a new self-centred focus on UK defence.”

    The government has allocated an additional £16.5 billion for defence spending over the next four years. This additional £4 billion a year will more or less offset the savings from the £4 billion cut to the aid budget.

    Speaking on the lawfulness of foreign aid cuts, Phil recalled the 2013 UK government commitment to the UN target of 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI), which was enshrined in UK law in the 2015 International Development Act, with cross party support.  This commitment featured in all major party manifesto commitments at the last election.

    Phil remarked that in addition to being unlawful and morally redundant, the aid cuts are a real false economy.

    “It has always been clear that FCDO aid cuts of this scale will result in lives lost and the loss of hard-won development gains. They will severely damage the UK’s international reputation, hurt relationships, and undermine the UK’s security and ability to achieve foreign policy objectives.”

    After speaking further on the COVID-19 pandemic, which Phil stated is reversing decades of progress in reducing global poverty, the interviewers focused on what can be done moving forward. Phil highlighted that it is important not to overstate the impact of aid, stating that foreign aid has not been the major driver of development progress. Rather, long-term development progress depends primarily on the economic and political institutions that are built over time in low-income countries, and the actions taken by those countries themselves.

    To improve foreign aid, Phil focused on three salient points:

    • Working in partnership at all levels. Development programmes are more efficient and have a much better chance of success if everyone is working in partnership.
    • The continued need for strong oversight on how aid is spent and the important work of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI), the UK watch dog that independently scrutinises UK aid spending
    • A focus on development effectiveness with continuous monitoring, reviews, evaluation studies and openness to constant lesson learning.

    “In summary we need to focus on strategic, results-oriented design and planning as well as the use of performance information to improve decision-making.”

    Update: On 25 May 2021, Phil returned to Voice of Islam radio to speak further on this topic. Listen to this interview below.


    Photo: LPhot Joel Rouse/MOD, OGL v1.o, via Wikimedia Commons

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  • CIDT joins organisations calling for lasting forest policy solutions

    28 April 2021
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    CIDT joins and supports civil society organisations from Asia and the Pacific, the Americas, Europe, and West and Central Africa in calling on the EU and international community for lasting policy solutions to strengthen forest governance, protect and restore forests. CIDT is already involved in pushing for a number of policy initiatives as we build towards the international climate change conference COP26 to be held in Glasgow in November.

    Download the summary document ‘Raising the bar Strengthening EU biodiversity and climate leadership through FLEGT and Forest Partnerships’, which gives an overview of the vision and recommendations.


    Raising the bar document coverThis statement summarises the views of civil society organisations (CSOs) from Asia and the Pacific, the Americas, Europe, and West and Central Africa. These organisations help address the key challenges threatening forests around the world, including the ongoing trade in illegal timber and commodity-driven deforestation, by proposing lasting solutions that work for people and the planet. If the EU follows these recommendations, it will help to strengthen forest governance, and protect and restore forests globally:

    • Use the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Fitness Check to strengthen the FLEGT Action Plan and the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) and address the persistent obstacles that hamper their effective implementation.
    • Maintain the integrity of the Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) and provide tailored support to VPA countries, ensuring CSOs, local communities and Indigenous Groups have the space and capacity to participate.
    • Develop ambitious, inclusive, and rights-based Forest Partnerships that respond to the partner countries’ needs.

    First published by FERN.

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  • Action learning engages stakeholders in Suriname’s Energy sector

    28 April 2021
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    Global goals

    CIDT is facilitating a one-year action learning process within the Suriname Electricity Company (EBS) to introduce tools and methods for a structured stakeholder engagement process. The project is part of a Caribbean Development Bank-supported drive to strengthen social and environmental safeguards and contribute to quality service delivery.

    Project managers at EBS are familiar with dealing with internal government stakeholders. However stakeholder engagement as a structural approach to results-based project management is a different ball game for this state-owned private company.

    Power sector planning decisions are complex. They cannot be solved by a single government agency, institution, or interest group. Stakeholders can directly affect the successful outcome of power-sector projects when proactively engaged via transparent and regular communications. Addressing stakeholder concerns early in the project cycle can help avoid obstacles and save valuable time and money.

    Mr Eyndhoven, the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) has said:

    “at EBS we recognise that our decisions and actions in conducting our work impact a wide variety of individuals, companies, and organisations. Consultation and feedback from our stakeholders will help us make better decisions, improve our operations and processes’ transparency and predictability, and build widespread societal and customer confidence in our business.”

    Wouter Hijweege

    Wouter Hijweege

    Due to Covid restrictions, CIDT’s Dutch associate Mr Wouter Hijweege used online training and coaching methods, developing a bespoke EBS guideline and handbook on stakeholder engagement.

    As the CTO explained:

    “Increasingly, effective and meaningful stakeholder engagement is essential to fulfilling EBS’ role to provide clean energy to all Suriname citizens. It allows our citizens and customers to become informed and also influence what we do”.

    Such engagement also forms part of Suriname’s ambitions in contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this way, EBS is also contributing to achieving goal no 7: Affordable and clean energy.

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  • Working with fisherfolk on Lake Victoria in Tanzania to prevent drowning

    28 April 2021
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    CIDT’s Rachel Roland is currently seconded to the RNLI to lead the development of a programme of drowning prevention work with fisherfolk and their communities on Lake Victoria in Tanzania. We are highlighting this work on International safety and health at work day, which seeks to highlight risks that workplaces pose around the world. Fishing is one of the most dangerous occupations worldwide, the World Health Organization states that ‘individuals with occupations such as commercial fishing or fishing for subsistence, using small boats in low-income countries are more prone to drowning’.

    Research conducted by the RNLI, The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Mwanza Intervention Trials Unit (MITU) known as the DRIFT study (Drowning Intervention Strategies Among Fishing Communities in the lake zone of Tanzania) has shown that artisanal fishers on Lake Victoria, drown in appallingly high numbers. According to this research, undertaken in 8 small communities, 70 fisherfolk drowned over a recent 2-year period; that’s a rate of 1,501/100,000 – 50 times higher than deaths from malaria in a similar community. So drowning is really a silent killer of epidemic proportions.

    Most fishing related drownings globally relate to a need to enter the water, despite risky conditions. The risk on Lake Victoria is compounded by non-traditional fishers, especially youths, being attracted to the fishing sector due to high unemployment in other sectors. These youths are expected to not understand the dangers as much as traditional fishers. In addition, the dynamics of boat ownership and crew selection further raise the risk of drowning coupled with boats being made of softer, less waterproofed wood given the deforestation around the Lake.

    Such drownings significantly affect families and communities left behind. Most relatives of fisher folk who have drowned note the increased burden of caring for their family with a reduced income. Respondents described family breakdowns, having to find other sources of income, and moving away.

    ‘I was thrown out of the house that we were renting so I had to look for a more affordable one… It has been an unending struggle with these children’. (victim’s wife).

    ‘The family depended a lot on him, despite him not having children of his own… He was the breadwinner of the family’. (victim’s close friend); ‘After he passed away the family separated. They closed the house and moved away’. (victim’s aunt).

    ‘I became the provider of two families because they said I am the one who caused his death by letting him go fishing’. (victim’s brother-in-law).

    However, most of these tragic deaths are preventable through co-created low-cost solutions. The RNLI programme in Tanzania has two main aims, firstly to understand what drives attitudes and behaviours around risk-taking that leads to higher drowning risk and, secondly, to develop and implement the appropriate interventions to lessen the drowning problem.

    The problem needs to be understood and owned by whole communities, fishers, beach managers, people living with disabilities, women, men and especially families of fishermen, before solutions can be developed to tackle this vast problem together. The project will determine which priority solutions will be prototyped, piloted, and assessed in each community including both direct drowning prevention elements as well as the support of livelihood improvements to reduce the dependence on higher risk activities like fishing.

    We aim to support the uptake of solutions through capacity development, skills development and through supporting high quality supervised practice.

    The work in Tanzania with fishing communities is currently the joint work of the RNLI and a number of implementing partners such as the Environmental Management and Economic Development Organisation (EMEDO) of Mwanza, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Mwanza Intervention Trials Unit (MITU), The Fisheries Education and Training Agency, The Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute , IPSOS Tanzania Ltd and Ifakara Health institute.

    The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is a charity, established by Royal Charter, that has been saving lives since 1824 and uses its expertise to reduce drowning globally. Since its inception the RNLI has saved more than 140,000 lives.

    Although in the UK RNLI’s work is known mainly for volunteer lifeboat crews and lifeguards, internationally lifesaving activities can look quite different. In rural Bangladesh, RNLI are helping children aged 1-5 at high risk of drowning stay safe by providing 17,500 supervised places in community creches. In Zanzibar, Tanzania, RNLI’s partner has trained teachers to deliver water safety education to over 50,000 schoolchildren and taught over 7,000 children how to swim.

    In its international work RNLI closely engages with host communities, through partners, to build their capacity and expertise in water safety in a sustainable way, so that this can continue without the need for external support.

    Author: Rachel Roland, CIDT Principal Lecturer and RNLI Senior International Programmes Manager (Tanzania), in conjunction with Lizz Armstrong (RNLI International Department).

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  • CV4C webinar series: Achievements, reflections and food for thought

    3 March 2021
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    This webinar series took place from place from 22-26 February 2021. This page features all of the video recordings and presentations from the event. Over five days we highlighted the successes and lessons from the Citizen Voice for Change (CV4C) project, which came to a close in December 2020.

    Over 200 people registered to learn how forests in the Congo basin are managed for conservation, nature, economic development and livelihoods.

    The daily webinars focused on what has been accomplished and learnt over four years of the implementation of the Citizen Voices for Change (CV4C) Congo Basin Forest Monitoring project, implemented by national civil society organisations in the Congo Basin working in partnership with regional and international partners. Every day a different theme was the focus of experience-sharing from key players involved in collecting information and evidence on logging and forest exploitation in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon and the Republic of Congo. Five practitioner panels shared results and lessons from their engagement in strengthening the scope, quality and impact of independent forest monitoring in the Congo Basin.

    Download the programme: English | French

    Theme 1: A means to an end or an end in itself?: The challenges of Organisational Development

    Welcome and opening remarks

    • Overview of the CV4C project, Ella Haruna, CIDT
    • Opening Address, Prof Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor, University of Wolverhampton
    • Keynote statement, Thomas Pichet, FCDO FMGC Programme

    Theme 1: A means to an end or an end in itself? The challenges of Organisational Development

    Over the last two decades, Organisational Development (OD) has gradually emerged as the best springboard for ensuring the sustainability of non-state actors, including African civil society organisations. Despite the relative progress of organisational in the Congo Basin over the last ten years, it remains rather marginal, especially for environmental civil society organisations. At the same time, these organisations face many challenges that fundamentally affect their sustainability. To address these challenges, the CV4C project has devoted substantial effort on organisational development, driven by theory of change that more robust and resilient civil society organisations are also more effective in monitoring natural resource choices and policies. This webinar takes the lessons from the project as a starting point for further reflection on three essential components of organisational sustainability: financial sustainability, inclusion and human resource management.

    Teodyl Nkuintchua, Session Chair and Moderator

    Amelie Nkontchou (FODER, Cameroon)
    Sustainable financing of independent monitoring organisations in the Congo Basin: What can be done to make it work?
    View PowerPoint (English | French)

    Igerha Bampa (OGF, DRC), Laurence Wete Soh (FODER, Cameroon)
    Gender Mainstreaming in independent monitoring organisations in the Congo Basin: Experiences, challenges and lessons learned
    View PowerPoint (English | French)

    Olivier Meye (Brainforest, Gabon)
    Strategic Planning: from Plan to Action
    View PowerPoint (English | French)

    Guest speaker: Mireille Kayijamahe (Well Grounded, France)
    Organisational Development in the Congo Basin. Opportunities, challenges reflections from more than 10 years’ experience
    View PowerPoint (English | French)

    Theme 2: Independent Forest Monitoring: Lessons learned and perspectives on target audiences and data quality

    Since the inception of the CV4C in 2016, CSO members of the consortium have been striving to set up robust quality mechanisms to improve Independent Forest Monitoring (IFM) efficiency, efficacy and credibility, in order to enhance transparency and accountability in the fight against illegal logging. These efforts led to the creation and testing of a number of quality assurance instruments at various scales. For example, at organisational level through SNOIE in Cameroon by FODER, and development of internal Quality Management Systems (QMS) in DRC by OGF. A good example of quality on both a national and a regional level by FLAG, and at the international level – the Open Timber Portal by World Resources Institute and FLEGT WATCH by CIDT. These models respond to demands at the start of the project from users of IFM information and various stakeholders, who expressed the need for IFM as an approach to be more standardised, replicable, efficient and credible. From the onset, the project actively sought to address these concerns. The purpose of this webinar session is to share experiences on how the project has responded to these concerns by developing and implementing a number of instruments and tools. The session will focus on the emerging results achieved during the course of the project including the potential for scaling up and embedding the tools and instruments.

    Symphorien Azantsa, Session Chair and Moderator

    Serge Bondo Kayembe (OGF, DRC)
    Setting up the Quality Management System (QMS) and the Open Timber Portal (OTP): Opportunities for improving the quality of the mandated IFM
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    Jean Cyrille Owada (FLAG, Cameroon)
    Ability of the innovative Verified Quality Management System (VQM) to strengthen the IM processes
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    Angeline Kamden Modgo, Justin Kamga (FODER, Cameroon)
    Quality management of the IFM: The experience of SNOIE
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    Achille Djeagou (WRI, DRC)
    The Quality and scope of IFM data for due diligence processes
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    Theme 3: Strength in numbers: the power of networks and coalitions of interest

    The CV4C project believes that creating and maintaining 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 are well-placed to support both national advocacy networks and regional and international advocacy movements through strengthening voice, capacity-building and participation. This theme presents the various ways in which networks within and across the region have supported and acted as vehicles for project activity. This includes national platforms (e.g. RENOI, SNOIE network in Cameroon and the nascent SNOIE network in Congo-Brazzaville) and the role of the regional platform ‘Plateforme Africaine de l’Observation Indépendante’ (PAOI) – or the African independent monitoring platform. The panel will look at the role of networks in building civil society capacity and in advocacy/influencing.

    Stephany Kersten, Session Chair and Moderator

    Essylot LUBALA (OGF, DRC)
    National Network for IFM in the DRC: Challenges and opportunities
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    Laurent Yangueta (CIEDD, CAR)
    Synergies between IFM and other State institutions: experience of the Consultation Platform for the fight against environmental crimes
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    Serge Moukouri (FLAG, Cameroon)
    Challenges and opportunities facing IFM networks at the regional level: the case of the PAOI
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    Theme 4: Closing the circle: Engagement with law enforcement agencies, the judiciary and the media

    Independent monitoring is an important instrument for improving forest governance in the Congo Basin for improving forest governance, transparency and the participation of non-state actors, in particular civil society organisations, rural populations and the media in the sustainable management of forests. IFM also has significant potential to contribute to law enforcement. In addition, the actions of IFM in the Congo Basin are increasingly aimed at strengthening synergies between the authorities in charge of law enforcement for an effective fight against illegal forestry. This theme aims to share the experiences of the CV4C project in the engagement of the media as well as the judicial authorities in the monitoring and repression of forest offences. It also draws lessons from the challenges of involving these authorities in identifying possible avenues for solutions.

    Virginie Vergnes, Session Chair and Moderator

    Fiston Mabonzi
    Independent monitoring and influence of the engagement of law enforcement agencies, the judiciary and the media: experiences of civil society in the DRC
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    Flora Lamero, Rachel Ngo Nwaha, Lore Souhe
    Increasing the role of the media in natural resources governance: Where do we want to go and how? Experiences, lessons and perspectives
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    Laurence Wete Soh, Horline Njiké
    Challenges of involving the judiciary in the fight against illegal logging in Cameroon: what are the possible solutions?
    View PowerPoint (English | French)

    Theme 5: ‘A tale of two illegalities’: Synergies between wildlife protection and forest governance

    The Congo Basin countries grappling with the challenges of forest illegality are equally ill-equipped to respond to the challenges of wildlife trafficking and organised crime. The international wildlife trade includes hundreds of millions of plant and animal specimens, estimated at billions of dollars annually. Grand scale illegality in the forest sector, poaching, ivory trade, illegal trade of bush meat and protected species, represent significant threats not only to forests, wildlife and ecosystems, but to regional development and security. Inadequate responses can be linked to a range of factors: inadequate legislation for wildlife offences; lack of recognition of wildlife crime as a priority crime leads to absence of strategic, tactical or operational focus; poor understanding of demand for and actors involved in the trade of illicit wildlife products; and lack of trained staff with the expertise and skills in specialist investigation techniques. This is exacerbated by porous borders and ineffective border controls; inadequate collaboration and information sharing between enforcement agencies; inadequate systems for intelligence gathering, analysis and use; lack of effective cooperation at local/ national/ regional/ international levels in information/intelligence exchange; grand and petty corruption in the agencies, and weak law enforcement management and monitoring capacity. This theme aims at exploring the synergies between wildlife crimes, and forestry crimes in the Congo Basin, from both a legal and a practical perspective. The theme will briefly present the project’s outputs: two Nexus studies from Cameroon and CAR, and a regional legal study.

    Willy Laywer, Session Chair and Moderator

    Samuel Nguiffo
    The judge and the forest in Central Africa: why illegal logging persist and intensifies in the Congo Basin countries?
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    Ghislain Fomou
    Review of operational systems to combat illegal logging and wildlife exploitation in Cameroon
    View PowerPoint (English | French)

    Bienvenu Kemanda-Yogo
    Illegal exploitation of wildlife and timber in CAR: links, origins and purposes
    View PowerPoint (English | French)

    Closing remarks

    Dr Aurelian Mbzibain (CIDT, University of Wolverhampton)
    Closing address by representative of CV4C project

    Mathieu Auger Schwartzenberg (Task Team Leader, Agence Française de Développement)
    Closing address by representative of development partner

    Prof Philip Dearden (University of Wolverhampton)
    Closing address by representative of the University of Wolverhampton

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