Background and Rationale
A presentation workshop of the first Mandated Independent Monitoring (MIM) experiment in CAR as well as an orientation of the Reading and Validation Committee (RVC) Mission Reports was held on May 23rd 2018 at the Stadium in Bangui, as part of the implementation of the sub-regional project ‘Citizen Voices for Change: Congo Basin Forest Monitoring (CV4C)’.This workshop was chaired by Mr. KAÏMBA Barthélemy, Head of Mission at the ministry of Hunting and Fisheries, acting as personal representative of the Director of Cabinet at the Ministry in charge of forest. The objective of this workshop was to give a new direction to the functioning of the RVC by presenting the first MIM experiment in CAR and to draw new Guidelines that will allow this mechanism to effectively carry out its function.
The workshop was attended by all representatives of forest governance stakeholders in CAR. A total of thirty-two participants took part in this workshop and four (4) presentations were made during this event.
They are as follows:
- Presentation of the first MIM experiment in CAR;
- Presentation of MIM Opportunities in CAR;
- Presentation of the Guidelines;
- The partnership between government and civil society in the implementation of IM in CAR – Government analysis.
The above were followed by discussions and recommendations.
The opening ceremony of the workshop included two speeches, one from the CIEDD Coordinator, Mr. Jean Jacques U. MATHAMALE and the other from the Head of Mission at the ministry of Hunting and Fisheries. In his speech, the CIEDD Coordinator recalled the brief history of Independent Monitoring in CAR, based on the development of the National Independent Monitoring Strategy Paper, the training of the 12 Independent Monitors, and the funding obtained from FAO, which made the operationalisation of the IM possible. In addition, the establishment of the WG-IM and the RVC, the two mechanisms responsible for working on the report before publication were put in place by a ministerial decree. All of these elements made it possible to carry out three missions, during which published reports were analysedto facilitate exchanges.
It should be noted that analysis of these reports revealed weaknesses in the functioning of the RVC, the WG-IM and the non-follow-up of recommendations made in mission reports that were validated by the RVC. In conclusion, it must be noted that there were mixed overall results of these activities, reason why the CV4C project took over to correct weaknesses resulting from exchanges with stakeholders.
Speaking in turn, the Head of Mission at the Ministry of Hunting and Fisheries , acting as representative of the Director of Cabinet at the Ministry in charge of forest, in his speech highlighted the objectives by presenting the guidelines of the RVC, which were developed by the civil society for stakeholders before seeking their views on these guidelines. He also congratulated the CSOs members of the GDRNE platform in general and the CIEDD in particular for their collaboration with the administration in charge of forest and the efforts made to contribute towards the improvement of forest governance in CAR.
The workshop was suspended after the two speeches and only resumed after a group photograph.
Upon resumption, a workshop office was set up and consisted the following:
- A Chairman : Mr. KAÏMBA Barthélemy (Representative of the ministry)
- Rapporteur : Mr. LIMBAYA Michelin (Assistant CP CV4C)
- Rapporteur: Mr. NGOBO Emery
After reading the programme of the workshop, a methodology to move all presentations ahead of discussions and recommendations was adopted. The first speaker then had the opportunity to make his presentation on:
- The first Mandated Independent Monitoring experiment (Speaker: Mr. NDEWA ZENETH Josias)
- Opportunities of Mandated Independent Monitoring (Speaker: Mr. YANGUETA Laurent)
- Working Group Guidelines for Independent Monitors (WG-IM) and the Reading and Validation Committee (RVC) (Speaker: Mr. Jean Jacques U. MATHAMALE)
- The partnership between government and civil society in the implementation of IM in CAR – Government analysis. (Speaker: Joseph Desire MBANGOLO)
Key questions asked
Opportunities for questions and contributions were made available.
- ALAFEI (Coordinator of the Implementation and Verification Unit for FLEGT Authorisations): Regarding the first presentation, it would be wise for the speaker to specify the weaknesses of each actor.How many challenges will the different actors encounter?
- YAKINGA (NGO OCDN): Why did the administration not make a presentation on the first MIM missions?
- NGOUGBIA Rosine (Private sector representative): Point 4 of the RVC Guidelines is a bit of a problem because as a private sector representative (Forest Companies) in this committee, it is not conducive to make recommendations to our own institution.
- BIKO (Chairman of the Independent MonitoringWorking Group): The Memorandum of Understanding will soon expire. Does the new project intend to renew it in order to allow the execution of MIM missions?
- MBANGOLO (Permanent Technical Secretary/FLEGT): If the administration fails to implement the recommendations of independent monitors, it is because there is a serious problem in the litigation department, as the current agents have difficulties in drawing up minutes.
After these questions, the Chairman gave the floor to the CIEDD coordinator Mr. Jean Jacques U. MATHAMALE to respond to concerns raised by participants.
For the CIEDD coordinator:
- The CAR has ratified the VPA. We are all actors and everyone must play their part.
- Point 4 of the RVC guidelines for forest companies is not a problem. We should not be afraid to make recommendations to our own institution because all we do is to improve forest governance in CAR and allow forestry companies to work legally.
- He continues: the problem of developing the VPs to follow-up at the level of the litigation department is a very important aspect. For this reason, the most immediate is to make a request to donors in order to seek funding to strengthen the capacity of these agents. He ended by saying: “Independent monitoring is a major outcome of the VPA for CAR and needs to be enhanced in the implementation of the VPA”
After the coordinator’s responses, the chair of the meeting gave the opportunity to Mr. NDEWA Josias to also provide responses to some questions.
According to Mr. NDEWA Josias, the weakness we are talking about concerns all the actors involved, namely the administration and civil society. Each of them has made no effort to follow-up on the recommendations of the MIM mission reports.
- Mr. ZAMA proposed the reformulation of the terms of the ‘guidelines’ by action clauses.
- Mr. BIKO suggested that the guidelines for the WG-IM at point six (6) should be worded as follows: The WG-IM should participate in missionspreparation as well as in the support of IMs in missions.
After analysis and exchange on the document, participants unanimously made the following recommendations:
- Rename the guidelines by devolved missions
- Establish a mechanism at the Reading and Validation Committee level to follow up on recommendations from independent monitors reports;
- Undertake actions by the administration on the recommendations made in the reports of the three (3) Mandated Independent Monitoring missions carried out within the framework of the project IM-CAR2;
- Update the Ministry’s litigation monitoring structure;
- Revitalise the Reading and Validation Committee.
Following the above, the chair of the meeting thanked everyone who took part in the workshop and closed the meeting at 12.05.