Many governments recognise that forestry has an important social and environmental role to play as well as an economic one, and therefore – at least on paper – have ‘social justice’ policies on sustainable forest management and equitable distribution of benefits from the nation’s forests. However, implementation of these is often undermined by powerful timber barons who ‘capture’ the state, making the regulatory role one which facilitates and brokers illegal access to timber. As a result, these private sector elites, not government, start to effectively control policy implementation.
This review looks at the role of Independent Forest Monitoring (IFM) as a tool for social justice. IFM is a relatively new approach, which deliberately operates at the sharp end of forest governance issues, so it is still very much at an experimental stage. This review describes the experience of IFM principally in Cameroon, but makes reference to other forest monitoring initiatives in Cambodia, Indonesia, and elsewhere.
This tool is based on the work of Global Witness and draws on long experience of investigating the links between natural resource extraction, conflict and corruption. A Guide to IFM, which gives full details on both the establishment and running of an IFM project, will be available from Global Witness from mid-2005.
A summary card of this tool is available to download in four languages in PDF format:
The complete tool is also available (PDF format):
Please cite this tool as:
Global Witness. 2005. Independent forest monitoring: a tool for social justice? Power tools series. Global Witness, London, UK and International Institute for Environment and Development, London, UK.