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Methodology 2010

The 2010 report card broadly followed the same methodology as was used in 2009. This had been developed during a workshop with the initial four partner country NGOs in April 2009, following a piece of research into report cards published in How do report cards help?. It used yes/partial/no responses to questions about the availability of different documents and other sources of information relevant to the forest sector.
For 2010, the original list of 70 indicators, organised into 15 themes, was reviewed by the four partner country NGOs in May 2010. As a result, two indicators were removed and ten were added. Thus in total, of the 78 questions in 2010 applied by all of the partners, 68 are repeated from 2009 and could be compared year-on-year to analyse whether evidence of progress or retrogression in situation.

Indicators dropped for 2010

  • Tenure and land use: Can you provide examples of forest tenure disputes?
  • Fiscal regime: In practice does the social obligations system meet any legal obligations?

Both these indicators were regarded with hindsight as insufficiently objective and would too easily apply to all situations.

Indicators added for 2010

  • Forest legal framework: Does customary / traditional forest law exist in this country?
  • Transparent access to decision-making: Is there any law recognising the right to free prior informed consultation?
  • Transparent access to decision-making: Is there any law recognising the right to free prior informed consent?

It was felt important to ask these questions in order to better understand some of the other indicators relating to tenure, access to decision-making and attitudes to the law from different stakeholders.

  • Allocation of permits / user rights: Are all forest operations required to carrying out an EIA?

This question was regarded as an important precursor to the existing question, 'Are any environmental / social impact assessments for forest operations available to the public?'

  • Operations: Are the forest management plans (for logging, other forest products, environmental services and (eco)tourism services) public?

These four questions are critical for understanding what is actually happening on the ground, once a permit has been issued.

  • Forest law enforcement: Is there a national or local Anti-Corruption Committee, Bureau or Commission?

This was suggested as a useful and objective indicator to assess a government's commitment to the rule of law.

  • Publications: Does the forest authority publish annual audited accounts?

This indicator, alongside the existing one on the forest authority publishing an annual report, helps to assess the level of proactive disclosure and dissemination by a key authority. It is also often provided for in the law.

In addition to revising the indicators, further clarity was provided on whether each indicator could be evaluated sufficiently from desk-based work (using the Internet or making enquiries to the relevant authorities at national level) or would require field level research to ascertain whether ordinary citizens were able to access the information that was most important to them. See the download on 2010 indicators for this information.

After careful consideration, it was decided to phrase four indicators in the negative:

  • Forest law enforcement: Do (some) forest communities reject the idea that some activities are 'illegal'?
  • 'Anti-transparency' norms: Do parts of any law affecting forests limit transparency?
  • 'Anti-transparency' norms: Do any extra-sectoral operations overrule forest laws?
  • 'Anti-transparency' norms: Is it commonplace for authorities to ignore obligations?

Unusually, for these indicators 'yes' is marked by a red traffic light, as it was not possible to re-word the indicator in a simple way and have it express 'yes' positively.

Some methodological issues identified in 2009 remain significant and are reiterated here:

  • The report card indicators do not result in rankings or aggregate scores that can be analysed between countries. The yes/partial/no indicators were designed to provide an objective assessment of the situation in each country, but the context is so different in each country that their responses cannot be compared in this way.
  • The programme continues to develop the methodology collaboratively and in a way which actively encourages innovation and adaptation to local priorities. Each country team therefore continues to develop a report card methodology which matches their own priorities, capacities and interests, but all teams contribute towards a common data set. Individual country annual transparency reports are available from the downloads page as they are published.

For more details on each country team's methodology and results, click on countries at the top of this page.
For more on the final common set of transparency indicators, and the key differences between the approach in different countries, follow the links below.

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