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Investigating law enforcement in the field to spark governance reform
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Online Database: Independent Monitoring of Forest Law Enforcement and
The overall goal of the IM-FLEG Congo Project is to contribute to the realization of good governance in the forestry sector and support the implementation of effective policies for sustainable forest management. Central to achieving this goal is the dissemination of information on illegal logging activities and law enforcement strategies to a wide range of concerned actors, particularly civil society, international donors, timber buyers/investors, certifying/licensing agencies (FLEGT auditors) and governments of both producing and importing countries. Until now, data from IM-FLEG investigations has been presented in narrative reports making it difficult to compile information from multiple field missions. The database will allow concerned actors to easily access, compile, and analyse all IM-FLEG data thus better enabling them to encourage governance reform.
Contents of the database
Users can create graphs, Excel tables, and KML files (Google Earth)
The BETA version is online and currently contains reports 1-22 from IM-FLEG Congo between 2007-2010.
7 additional reports from this period will be entered shortly and
new data from 2011 will be published following validation in early
Data is collected primarily via field missions in logging concessions. The memorandum of understanding between the Congolese government and the project guarantees access to logging areas and documentation, such as concession maps, management plans and annual cutting permits. Investigation reports are reviewed by a Reading Committee composed of senior level government officials, civil society, international donors, and project staff. This ‘validation process’ facilitates productive exchange between stakeholders to identify key problems and viable solutions. If government officials do not agree with an observation or recommendation in the mission report, their comments are inserted into the report. The contents of the mission reports are not altered unless further investigations support changes suggested by members of the validation committee. All information in the database has gone through the validation process.
Because data is collected using spot-check techniques rather than systematic
audits, a lack of information on a certain logging company does not mean
that the company is operating legally. In addition, the accuracy of secondary
data collected is unknown. This includes most data on taxes and fines,
which is collected and compiled using government records.
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