LOGGINOFF: by civil society representatives from VPA countries and by Fern
"Transparency and the timber trade: under construction."
Illegal logging and the illicit timber trade thrive when legal frameworks, rights and benefits are unclear and complex to enforce. For this reason, transparency is at the heart of Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) and over the last decade, countries implementing or negotiating a VPA have made important advances in processing, collecting, monitoring and publishing information on the forest sector and related activities. Various assessments are being conducted looking at how VPAs have contributed to transparency, and the ways in which it can influence governance and policies. Transparency works only when its value is understood, and information and knowledge are used to encourage and strengthen governance. This is becoming the case in many countries covered in this VPA update. Some countries have dedicated websites providing updates on the forest sector and VPA-led reforms, and publish regular reports on progress. Liberia and the Republic of Congo have transparency laws and have integrated timber in their national Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), (although Liberia’s appears to have been suspended), and Central African Republic’s (CAR) constitution includes provisions on contract transparency. Civil society-led independent monitoring in Cameroon, Congo and Indonesia enabled the discovery of grave and persistent illegalities in the forest sector; their findings are helping governments to understand the flaws, measure the risks and lost tax revenues, and improve environmental governance. In CAR, stakeholders and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are using transparency to create more trust and accountability. Awareness-raising campaigns are prompting communities to claim their rights. Researchers are using increasingly sophisticated satellite imagery and sensing to detect forest loss and understand the key drivers of deforestation.
Source: FERN (Green NGO)
Link to the paper: HERE