Among other things, IUCN’s forest governance work has confirmed our belief that consultative processes improve the quality of nationally agreed actions and increase their prospects for being implemented. We have also seen that additional approaches are needed to ensure that FLEGT initiatives reach out to as many key actors as possible. Using the ‘tripartite approach’ the project aims to help different actors build a common cause around illegal logging. While being sensitive to the underlying mistrust that often pervades civil society/government/private sector relations, the project builds on IUCN’s experiences in Africa and elsewhere to increase trust among different stakeholders and support their efforts to work together to further define and implement practical actions.
While the geographic focus of this project will be Central and West Africa, timber importing countries must also be engaged in supporting FLEGT principles and initiatives. As recognized in DfID’s China: Country Assistance Plan 2006-11, China’s trade with and investment in Africa have significantly increased.. Although the volume of China’s timber imports from Africa is still relatively small when compared with imports from Southeast Asia and Russia, the significance of this trade for many African countries is considerable. In response to China’s growing presence in the Central and West African forest governance landscape, this project includes a particular focus on learning more about the effects of Africa’s emerging role as a source of timber for the Chinese market in relation to FLEGT and encouraging an informed tripartite dialogue between and selected producer countries on Chinese demand for timber products and predatory forest activities in producer countries. This element also involves sharing ongoing experiences developing VPAs with Chinese stakeholders.
This project has been designed to contribute directly to the implementation of the European Union (EU) FLEGT Action Plan.
Building Multistakeholder Coalitions in Central and West Africa and China for the Negotiation and Implementation of Nationally Defined and Innovative Actions in Support of FLEGT/VPAs builds on IUCN’s previous work supporting multistakeholder dialogues by linking it more firmly with FLEGT processes, including the exploration and negotiation of VPAs. The project operates at the local, sub-national and national levels in six prominent timber producing countries where IUCN and/or its members already have an established track record, including Ghana, Liberia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Republic of Congo, Cameroon and Gabon. Existing connections between the producer countries are being harnessed to enhance collaborative experiences and increase the value of lessons learned, for example, through further Ghana-Liberia linkages. Linkages to other relevant processes (e.g. COMIFAC) will continue to be used to help create additional momentum for maximizing inputs and following through with what the project has helped to initiate. In addition, connections are being developed with China, an increasingly important consumer of African forest products.
Building Multistakeholder Coalitions in Central and West Africa and China for the Negotiation and Implementation of Nationally Defined and Innovative Actions in Support of FLEGT/VPAs is a 3-year project that began in January 2007 and is currently due to be completed in December 2009.
Funding for this project is being provided by The United Kingdom Department for International Development (DfID). Some of the project activities (e.g. in Ghana and DRC) are being enhanced and co-funded by similar or complementary activities under IUCN’s global forest governance project Strengthening Voices for Better Choices (SVBC), as well the global Livelihoods and Landscapes (LLS) Strategy (both are described in more detail elsewhere on this site). Project activities are also being undertaken in support of and in coordination with a series of meetings being planned in China by Chatham House, Forest Trends and IUCN with DfID support (meeting series and IUCN’s role are described in more detail on this site).
- Catalyze and reinforce informed multistakeholder negotiation and implementation of nationally defined and innovative priority actions that support FLEGT/VPAs.
To achieve this, the project is carrying out a number of activities which will lead to the following results:
- Key actors, including the private sector and CBOs, engaged and contributing to building multi-stakeholder coalitions that strengthen the delivery of agreed national priorities in support of FLEGT, including where appropriate VPAs (6 producer countries)
- Awareness raised and lessons proactively shared on agreed national priorities in support of FLEGT, including where appropriate VPAs (6 producer countries plus cross-country, cross-regionally and internationally)
- Innovative pilot field-based actions implemented that align with and implement agreed national priorities in support of FLEGT, including where appropriate VPAs (6 producer countries)
- China as a key consumer of Central and West African forest products engaged in support of FLEGT in relation to specified producer countries
With varying degrees of emphasis in different countries, the project is achieving its purpose through:
- Multistakeholder coalitions
- Awareness raising, networking and sharing lessons
- Pilot local practices
- Linking producer countries with China
Activities & Achievements
Selected project activities and achievements to date include:
- Assistance provided for a peer review process for the draft definition of legality to be used in VPA negotiations between Ghana and the EU
- Strengthened measures to ensure that legal reform processes are transparent and include mechanisms/processes to incorporate stakeholder inputs
- In Ghana, the project has supported a series of outreach programmes on forest governance in collaboration with Forest Watch Ghana, organized and implemented civil society stakeholder workshops and facilitated a consultation with the Ghana Council of Chiefs about the VPA process
- Enhanced the ability of multiple stakeholders to participate more effectively in the VPA process
- Held meetings with an extensive range of key stakeholders from civil society, government and the private sector in Liberia to explain the FLEGT/VPA process and engage them actively in it
- Raised awareness among key stakeholders and associated institutions
- Organized major Liberian stakeholders into 6 tripartite working groups (legality and verification; chain of custody and licensing; Independent Monitoring; AFLEG; Chinese operators; chainsawing/pitsawing); these groups have developed work plans and begun activities in preparation for the start of informal negations with the EU in February
- A tri-partite process in support of FLEGT-VPA was jointly envisioned and established
- The technical committee that supports the VPA negotiation process in Cameroon (including members from civil society and the private sector) was officially established by the Ministry of Forests & Fauna.
- The VPA negotiation process got well underway
- A number of communications activities have been undertaken in Cameroon (e.g. FLEGT articles published in Zamb’a, the Conference on Central African Moist Forest Ecosystems (CEFDHAC) magazine; one prospectus and two flyers about FLEGT produced; plans for radio and TV programmes further developed)
- Raised awareness of FLEGT/VPAs across a broad range of stakeholders
- Initiated a survey on cross border regional timber trade in the DRC
- Acquiring the baseline data that policy-makers need to develop policies that reflect and adequately address issues related to the regional timber trade
- Organised a workshop about FLEGT with journalists in the DRC
- Raised awareness about FLEGT with a targeted emphasis on potential “champions” with the ability to further raise awareness across a broader audience
- Provided support to a recent CEFDHAC conference in Libreville, Gabon and used the conference as a valuable opportunity to present the project and the FLEGT/VPA approach to sub-regional forest management authorities
- Raised awareness and informed key regional stakeholders about the project and FLEGT
- A Central Africa FLEGT mailing list has been set up and is operational
- Facilitating increased networking and exchanges between key Central African stakeholders