As the European Union Non- State Actors Project enters its 4th and final year of implementation, partner countries of Liberia, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire have all met to review what worked, what did not work, and how what worked well can be factored into ongoing national sustainable forest programs in the 3 West African countries.
The meeting which was held from February 11th-13th in Grand Bassam City brought together 12 participants from the three West Africa countries, including two international experts. An International Expert in forest governance, David Young and International Project Coordinator, Henk Hoefsloot of Tropenbos International (TBI) served as Facilitators.
The purpose of the 3 day meeting was for the three countries to meet and jointly work out and understand a methodology for developing “most significant change stories” of the project, and share experience and learn from each other in order to take inspiration for the last year.
The Liberian team presented 3 outcomes which include, increased evidence gathering and advocacy on governance in the forestry sector through Forest Hour Radio Program and Liberia Forest Media Watch (LFMW), increased demand for compliance and accountability by forest communities, and government of Liberia through the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) now taking some corrective measures based on communities’ and CSOs demands and information coming out of the media.
During the meeting, the Ghanaian team reported a platform of CSOs is successfully working together to drive change in forest governance and as a result communities are now helping to protect their forests against illegal loggers and bushfires, and government showing some commitment to responding to independent evidence of infractions in the forestry sector gathered from Civil Society Independent led Forest Monitoring Real Time Monitoring Platform (CS-IFM RTM).
While the Ivorian reported that their government have adopted a new forest code and is developed implementation texts through a multi stakeholder participatory process and with civil society and communities actively influencing final texts. Small and medium-sized forestry companies, carpenters and women charcoal producers and sellers are now organized and recognized and demanding rights. A Forest media governance network is established and is now actively increasing the information dissemination on VPA-FLEGT and REDD+ in the country.
The 3 countries presented their outcomes taking into consideration evidence, contribution, sustainability and breadth of the achievements. The participants jointly noted that each of the three countries has been driven by the partnerships they have established under specific contexts which evolved and were driven by the specific interests and strengths of each project team.
The European Union funded project “Strengthening the capacity of non-state actors (NSA) to improve FLEGT-VPA and REDD+ processes in Western Africa” under the lead of Tropenbos International based in The Netherlands, is being implemented by the Volunteers To Support International Efforts In Developing Africa (VOSIEDA) in Liberia, Nature and Development Foundation (NDF) Ghana and Tropenbos Ghana in Ghana, and National Working Group for Sustainable Forest Management and Certification (GNT-CI) in Cote d’Ivoire.