Provisions for Transparency in Forest Laws
Although there are no specific forest laws and norms which regulate the right of access to public information in the forest sector, it could be argued that the Law of Access to Public Information is broad, and stipulates the obligations of all public institutions in the forest sector to provide the required information. A number of requests have already been made to the public institutions in the forest sector under the Law of Access to Public Information, so there is no movement in civil society to include new provisions on transparency specifically in the forest sector. In addition, there is a process of strengthening forest information in Guatemala between the relevant public institutions and the FAO (as well as ITTO), and a website (http://www.sifgua.org.gt/) was created to centralise forest information, which is still being developed. One possible suggestion which might be useful would be for the public information units of the National Institute of Forests (INAB) and the National Council for Protected Areas (CONAP) to consistently comply with aspects of the Law of Access to Public Information, such as the compulsory production of an annual report detailing all the freedom of information requests received and replied to and not replied to, to the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman, which is required to publish an annual transparency report. Neither INAB nor CONAP were consistent with this requirement over the last two years (although they have complied with this requirement for 2011, they failed to comply for the years of 2009 and 2010), which demonstrates that there are difficulties in consistent compliance with the law so far as the forest sector is concerned.