Although progress has been made in tackling illegal logging in Ghana through the development of the Ghana Wood Tracking System (GWTS), the Ghana Timber Transparency Portal on the GWTS as well as legislative reforms to enhance forest law enforcement, there is the need for robust monitoring system to ensure the integrity, credibility of the GWTS and FLEGT licences issued. Effective monitoring requires the involvement of communities whose only source of financial benefit from forest management are timber companies’ compliance with Social Responsibility Agreements (SRAs). However, some logging companies often fail to fulfil their social responsibilities to communities within the stipulated 5 kilometer radius of their logging operations or fail to negotiate and pay farmers compensation for crops destroyed during logging. This project is to enable communities become conscious of their rights and responsibilities and assert them while being conscious of the rights and responsibilities of the other forest stakeholders. This project will build communities’ capacity to use Real Time Monitoring(RTM) as a tool to report forest infractions.
The project is also building stronger links to FLEGT processes and forest monitoring tools such as the Ghana Timber Transparency Portal, as well as strengthening collaboration with the Forestry Commission of Ghana to enforce forest sector laws.
In Ghana, RTM concept is being deployed by NGOs like Tropenbos Ghana, Nature Development Foundation, RUDEYA, Friends of the Earth – Ghana and Civic Response who together form the CSIFM platform in Ghana.
Overall Goal: To improve forest governance through more effective participation of forest communities and civil society thereby improving rights and livelihoods for forest peoples and promoting stronger environmental sustainability
This project aims to:
- Prevent illegal activities, such as logging, in targeted areas;
- Increase inspection and enforcement actions in response to community-generated alerts;
- Build forest communities’ capacity to participate in decisions that affect them and advocate for their rights;
- Equip local authorities with the technical support needed to integrate ForestLink into their operations;
- Strengthen community and civil society participation in forest management processes.
- To reduce deforestation and other forms of environmental damage and to strengthen the rights and livelihoods of forest communities
- To improve forest governance, specifically by strengthening participation of and benefits sharing for forest communities, as well as an overall reduction of illegalities and increased sustainability in forest resources use
To implement CSIFM, Civic Response in collaboration with Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK) deployed and piloted the use of the Forestlink platform for Real Time Monitoring (RTM), which enables communities to report forest infractions via sms, videos and photos.
Forestlink is downloadable onto most Android devices and can easily be customized to meet community needs. Information on illegal activity can be collected using a tablet, computer or smartphone and then transmitted to an online database via a satellite modem in as little as 20 seconds, for around the same cost as a standard text message.