Independent forest monitoring to boost transparency in Africa

Independent forest monitoring by civil society can improve transparency and help strengthen checks on illegality in the forest sector in Africa, an international conference heard last month in Accra.

Conference participants and speakers discuss independent forest monitoring by Civic Response Ghana

Over 70 experts from ten countries including Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo attended the African Sub-Regional Conference on Independent Forest Monitoring on 10-11 May. 

Independent forest monitoring is widely practiced in Africa and Asia as a means to assess and strengthen legal compliance in the forest sector. Often, it takes the form of a partnership between an official host institution responsible for oversight of the forest sector and an appointed monitoring organisation, which conducts field investigations, observes forest operations, the works of the official law enforcement agency and documents illegal activities in the forest and related timber trade.

The aim of the conference was to share lessons on the impact of independent forest monitoring on forestry policy and practice in the Congo Basin, and to chart a path for civil society-led independent forest monitoring in the sub-region in addition to helping Ghanaian participants assess options and structure for potential monitoring in Ghana.

Read more on the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme website.