Resource Extraction Monitoring (REM) was appointed as the Independent Observer (IO) in the DRC to contribute to the application of principles of good governance in the forestry sector. After opening an office in Kinshasa, observation missions started in the province of Equateur, mainly at Bumba. The IO works with civil society stakeholders, the forest administration and the private sector to check on infringements of forest law. According to the terms, they must publish their reports, but they can do so after the reports have been approved by a review committee that includes representatives of the government. The Ministerial Order granting the constitution of this committee was signed in October 2012, and the first reports are expected soon. REM also published its first annual report covering the December 2010–November 2011 period.
So far, the IO has:
• documented forest resources exploitation practices in three joint control missions (MECNT and IO-FLEG) covering 15 of the 28 industrial logging sites operating in 2011, and also artisanal and informal operations. This type of on-site supervision was almost non-existent before its arrival.
• developed essential tools for the improvement of forest sector control and analysis of forest law, including setting out the legal basis for resource exploitation and the provisions that still to be developed; a proposal for the use of checklists for forest sector supervision; a draft procedures manual for use by government agents following the observations made, and briefing notes on the areas of forest control that need to be improved (supervision tools to be provided, mission preparation, checklist of points, inter-ministerial relations, tax payments, etc.)
• highlighted the legal grey areas around the conversion of forest titles in concessions granted to date
One of the persistent problems affecting the IO’s activities is the lack of access to around 150 litigation casefiles held by MECNT.
REM’s contract terminates at the end of 2012 and it remains to be seen if its work in the DRC will continue.
|Title||Order no. 032/CAB/MIN/ECN-T/15/JEB/09 of 16 October 2012.|
|Organisation||Resource Extraction Monitoring|