The EU REDD Facility worked with stakeholders to make information on FLEGT and REDD+ more accessible to stakeholders in the Republic of the Congo. Access to information helps stakeholders to hold governments accountable for FLEGT and REDD+ processes. The project supported the development of a searchable catalogue of documents relating to FLEGT and REDD+ in the Republic of the Congo.
Making information about FLEGT and REDD+ more accessible
Republic of the Congo
- Year: 2013-2014
- Location: Republic of the Congo
- Partners: National REDD+ Coordination (CN REDD), Cellule de Légalité et Traçabilité Forestière (CLTF) du Ministère de l'Economie Forestière et du Développement Durable (MEFDD), ONF International
- Budget: € 40 000
- Funded by: European Union
The objective of the project was to increase transparency in the forest and land use sector by facilitating stakeholders’ access to information relating to FLEGT and REDD+ processes. The project aimed to involve stakeholders in government, the private sector and civil society in developing a comprehensive collection of documents and making them available in a searchable digital format. Involving stakeholders also aimed to strengthen the understanding among stakeholders of the importance of making certain documents publicly accessible.
Many stakeholders in the Republic of the Congo do not have access to the many documents produced since 2008 relating to the FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) process. Many documents produced since 2010 relating to the REDD+ process are similarly not accessible. The lack of access to information on forest and land use, studies, laws and decrees limits the ability of stakeholders to engage in discussions on forest and land use governance, drivers of deforestation, and FLEGT and REDD+ processes. Much information, as well as not being accessible, is not in a digital format.
"During the development of the document library, we realised stakeholders had only basic information on the FLEGT and REDD+ process in the Republic of Congo. This convinced us about the importance of distributing the tool widely among all those involved in the FLEGT VPA and REDD+"
— Audrey Prisca D. MINZOLA, Senior expert - Archiving and Research, National REDD+ Coordination
In the Republic of the Congo, the FLEGT VPA Annex X on published information sets out the information relating to the forest sector that should be publicly available in order to hold the government accountable and ensure effective forest governance. Information that should be public includes, for example, legal information, information on forest management, and data on annual timber production, revenues and exports to the European Union. Making this information publicly available responds to increasing demands for transparency from markets and signals a country’s commitment to open, accountable processes. By making information publicly available, a country shows that it is willing to expose opaque processes and minimise opportunities for corruption and that it is addressing the interests of society as a whole.
The project involved the National REDD+ Coordination (CN REDD) and the Cellule de Légalité et Traçabilité Forestière (CLTF) du Ministère de l'Economie Forestière et du Développement Durable (MEFDD) and ONF International in:
- Developing a scheme to catalogue documents by title, author, theme, geographic scope, language and type
- Collecting all legal documents, studies, communication materials and other publications in French and English relevant to FLEGT and REDD+ processes in the Republic of the Congo. Digitising materials that were previously available only in hard copy
- Bringing together stakeholders in government, the private sector and civil society to ensure the collection of documents was comprehensive
- Strengthening the understanding of stakeholders with respect to the need for documents to be publicly available
Results and impact
- The project developed a searchable document library in 2012 and updated it in 2014. The latest version holds over 1,300 documents
- The project digitised legal documents previously only available in hard copy
- The project distributed DVDs containing the library to stakeholders nationwide
- The project trained CN-REDD staff to expand the collection of documents and update the library
- Stakeholders in the government, in particular in the CN REDD and the CLTF, ministries, national and departmental civil society organisations, organisations of indigenous people and the private sector have better access to documents relevant to FLEGT and REDD+ processes
- Stakeholders with poor or no internet access can access the library on DVD. This is particularly important in remote parts of the country where internet connectivity is almost non-existent
- CN REDD and CLFT began to collaborate on making documentation available to the wider public
- Developing and updating the library brought stakeholders together to discuss transparency and governance
- Strong demand for the library from CN REDD and other stakeholders indicates growing ownership
- Working on a concrete product that was useful to both FLEGT and REDD+ processes brought stakeholders with different interests closer together
- The cataloguing scheme can be replicated in other countries engaged in FLEGT and REDD+ processes as a tool for discussing transparency and governance