Independent monitoring of forests and mines: pathway of non-state actors participation to law enforcement and transparency in natural resources in Congo Basin
Laurence Wete Nkouguep Epouse Soh
(UCAC(Catholic University of Central Africa)/ FODER (Forêts et développement rural))
Paper short abstract:
This paper presents pioneer experience and lessons learnt in the application of quality management standards in civil society (CS)led independent monitoring of forest and mining in a context of fragmented decision-making processes in Cameroon leading to increased role and participation of CS.
Paper long abstract:
The monitoring and the control of law enforcement in the forest and mining sectors are a sovereign competence of the State through its competent public organisations. However, with a view to strengthening law enforcement and ensuring greater transparency in the management of forest resources, independent forest monitoring (IFM) has been implemented by civil society organisations in Cameroon since 2001. With the breakdown of relationships between mandated Independent Monitor and the State in 2013, IFM has evolved to self-appointed or external non-mandated monitoring implemented by national civil society organizations without prior contracts with the government. In order to address challenges of the new role and scale up their impact, civil society organisations experimented with the application of ISO 9001 quality management standards in the monitoring of forest and mining sectors. The paper describes how increased performance, credibility, legitimacy, reliability and engagement of new actors have opened up citizen participation and voice in policy and decision making processes in the management of natural resources in a context characterised by weak governance and fragmented institutional decision-making. This paper explains ongoing challenges and how this experience can be further improved and replicated to other sectors in the Congo Basin.
Opening up natural resource governance: the roles of non-state and non-traditional actors