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Forest sector independent monitoring: promise for land-use governance

Forest sector independent monitoring: promise for land-use governance

Despite decades of efforts, forests are still being lost at an alarming rate, particularly in tropical countries. A civil society approach for contributing to improving forest governance – Independent Monitoring (IM) – has earned its stripes over the last decade as a legitimate activity through which non-state actors can influence natural resource governance. In a new brief, the EU REDD Facility proposes that the application of IM to deforestation-free commodity production could help open up agricultural and land-use sectors to similar initiatives. 

IM, in which independent civil society organisations assess legal compliance, complements government forest law enforcement activities by generating transparency, objectivity and credibility. 

Drawing on experience in Central Africa, the EU REDD Facility has published a policy brief detailing how IM is gaining traction beyond the assessment of legal compliance in the timber sector. It describes how the method could be applied to assess corporate zero-deforestation commitments in commodity-producing countries, as well as targets to reducing deforestation contained in many national climate plans submitted by countries under the Paris Agreement on climate change.  

The brief introduces the concept of IM, highlighting key strengths, weaknesses and some recent innovations. It also considers possible future applications of the approach, with the intention of inspiring further discussions among practitioners and other stakeholders.