SNOIE becomes the first certified independent monitoring system in the world

23 August 2018
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The ‘Standardised Independent External Monitoring System (SNOIE [1])’, is now ISO 9001 certified. Developed by ‘Forêts et Développement Rural (FODER)’, in collaboration with other civil society organisations, the administration and the other stakeholders in the forestry sector, SNOIE has officially obtained its certificate of conformity to the ISO 9001 2015 standard, on 17 April 2018. With this certificate, the system becomes the first natural resource monitoring approach by civil society, certified in Cameroon. This certification has been awarded by the Interface NRM Ltd.

To obtain the ISO 9001 certification, FODER has received financial and technical support from the Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT), University of Wolverhampton through the CV4C project. The certification has a duration of three years. “Obtaining this certificate marks a major turning point in the world history of independent monitoring of Natural Resource Management and opens a new era for which we are privileged to be the pioneers. It is a great responsibility and a heavy obligation that we must assume, that of maintaining a high level of quality standards, and this requires smooth functioning and continuous improvement of the system”, commented the President of the Council of Directors of FODER, Rodrigue NGONZO.

Developed in 2015, SNOIE is a set of monitoring processes for the exploitation of natural resources (NR) based on the international standard ISO 9001 2015. This system was developed to make external independent monitoring (IM) activities more effective, to increase the credibility of the denunciations that emerge from them and, above all, to better direct these denunciations to the appropriate recipients (competent authorities, technical and financial partners, sector operators etc.). The development and implementation of this system has been supported by FAO under the EU FLEGT Program.

The audit which led to the certification demonstrated SNOIE’s performance, as did the assessment of the indicators of its processes and the satisfaction of stakeholders with the system. In 15 months of SNOIE implementation, 88% of the IM reports produced and transmitted to the competent authority the Ministry of Forests and Wildlife (MINFOF) provoked reactions. Control missions of the National Control Brigade (BNC) and the Regional Brigades of Control (BRC) were organised following denunciations made. These missions revealed that the denunciations were relevant and reply letters from the Ministry of Forests were received for this purpose.

These positive impacts were obtained with the contribution of organisations such as PAPEL (Programme d’Appui à l’Elevage et à la Préservation de la Biodiversité) and CeDLA (Centre pour le Développement Local et Alternatif). SUHE, a community-based CSO, based in Sanaga Maritime, also contributed to the denunciations made available to MINFOF through ‘Community Real-Time Forest Monitoring (STR)’. Transparency International Cameroon (TI-C), through its involvement in the SNOIE communication and lobbying sub-process, contributed to the achievement of the results.

En calquant le développement du SNOIE sur la norme ISO 9001 2015,  la coordination de ce système a permis à ce qu’il devienne aujourd’hui pour le Cameroun « un véritable mécanisme pour avoir des informations fiables sur l’observation indépendante externe au Cameroun», avait indiqué Dr. Gavin Jordan Director, Interface NRM Ltd2. D’ailleurs, au niveau de l’administration en charge des forêts, le SNOIE fait désormais parti des réseaux d’informateurs de l’administration. «L’exploitant forestier illégal est un brigand qui doit être traqué et pour se faire avoir des informations fiables est cruciale. Et le SNOIE, qui fait partie des réseaux de d’informateur, est un système permettant d’avoir ces dénonciations», avait indiqué le Chef de la brigade nationale de contrôle du MINFOF, Rodrigue Ella, qui, saluait l’initiative de la mise en place du SNOIE au cours d’un atelier organisé dans le cadre du projet Mise en œuvre Système Normalisé d’Observation Indépendante Externe, financé par la FAO.

By aligning the development of the SNOIE with the ISO 9001 2015 standard, the coordination of this system has made it for Cameroon “a real mechanism for having reliable information on external independent monitoring in Cameroon”, commented Dr Gavin Jordan, Director, Interface NRM Ltd2. Moreover, at the level of the forest administration, SNOIE is now part of the network of informants. “The illegal logger is a thief who has to be hunted down and receiving reliable information is crucial. SNOIE, which is part of the networks of informants, is a system for delivering these denunciations”, said the head of the MINFOF National Control Brigade, Rodrigue Ella, who welcomed the initiative of SNOIE during a workshop organised by FAO.

With SNOIE now ISO 9001-2015 certified, Cameroonian and even Congo Basin civil society has standardised OIE procedures for more efficiency and credibility.

Christelle KOUETCHA 

1. The Standard Independent External Observation System (SNOIE) is an ISO 9001: 2015 certified independent observation approach since April 2018 and implemented by the FODER, PAPEL, CEDLA and TI-C organizations.