To ensure the effectiveness of the Standardised External Independent Monitoring System (SNOIE), capacity building of new civil society organisations (CSOs) conducting Independent Monitoring (IM) activities is crucial. For this reason, a training workshop for four new civil society organisations (CSOs) willing to conduct IM activities according to SNOIE processes and procedures was organised from 6-10 August 2018. SNOIE being an IM approach developed by the association Forêts et Développement Rural (FODER) in collaboration with civil society organisations, the government and local communities, in order to harmonise the IM approaches of civil society, as well as to give credibility to their denunciation reports of alleged cases of illegal logging. This IM approach, which has been in operation for three years, has been developed according to requirements set out in ISO 9001: 2015 standards.
To train the new CSOs interested in the SNOIE approach, a total of 12 trainers from the following organisations were equipped with the methods and techniques to carry out IM activities following the SNOIE approach – Ecosystems and Development (Ecodev), Earth and Resources for Sustainable Development (SUHE), Capacity Building and Human Rights Organisation (Ca.Bu.Ro. Ro) and Fondation Camerounaise de la Terre Vivante (FCTV). The training workshop was organised with the financial support of ‘Citizen Voices for Change: Congo Basin Forest Monitoring project’ (CV4C), implemented thanks to the financial support of the European Union and project partners. CV4C project aims to strengthen the contribution of non-state actors (NSAs) towards the improvement of forest governance and sustainable forest management (SFM) in 5 Congo Basin countries.
The training enabled participants to better understand the functioning of SNOIE, the techniques and methods of carrying out an external IM mission according to SNOIE, legal analysis following an EIM mission, as well as communication and lobbying in SNOIE. They also gained knowledge of subject-matter and territorial jurisdiction of criminal courts over forest offences and the form of denunciation and mapping.
In order to respect principle 3 of the ISO 9001: 2015 standard on which SNOIE is modelled and which stipulates staff commitment, experience sharing for the success of an IM mission with SNOIE has been made by officials from the Support Programme for Livestock Production and Conservation of Biodiversity in Protected Areas of Cameroon (PAPEL) and the Centre for Alternative Local Development (CeDLA), which for the last 3 years have been using this system to implement IM activities. According to Henri MEVAH, Coordinator of PAPEL and Martin BIYONG, Director of CeDLA, this experience sharing exercise is a contribution of their organisation to the continuous improvement of the system.
These four newly trained CSOs will, at the end of this training, be members of a pool of civil society organisations able to apply the procedures of the Standardized External Independent Monitoring System (SNOIE) to strengthen law enforcement of and improve forest governance through reliable, independent and credible information on the legality of forestry operations in their areas of intervention.
Christelle Kouetcha, Head of Communication, Forêts et Développement Rural (FODER).
[1.] The Standardised External Independent Monitoring System (SNOIE) is a group of civil society organisations that conduct external independent monitoring activities according to a set of requirements modelled on the ISO 9001: 2008 quality standard. These external independent monitoring activities consist of collecting and processing factual data on potential illegal activities and transmitting them to competent authorities to improve the effectiveness of control operations and guarantee transparent and sustainable management of national heritage resources. www.oie-cameroun.org.