Despite Regulation 108-07 anticipating the establishment of a formal system of Independent Forest Monitoring, there has been little progress since then. As a complementary framework, the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union (EU) is expected to partially address the need to monitor the existing legal system, including commercial activities in the forestry sector. For the first time monitoring by civil society has been given attention, and the government has made a commitment to integrate self-mandated monitoring roles into forest governance. The civil society and community feedback mechanism initiated during the negotiation phase was a critical element of Liberia’s VPA and needs to be incorporated during the implementation phase.
As the VPA includes a verification system and an occasional Independent Audit, there may be an expectation by the Forestry Development Authority and the EU that formal and continuous independent monitoring will not be necessary, although this assumption is yet to be tested in any VPA country. Just as civil society (and the EU) initiated the VPA process; it will require similar non-state efforts to press the government to provide resources and recognition for independent monitoring in line with Regulation 108-07.
Under the VPA there is scope for civil society to conduct its own self-mandated monitoring, the reports from which will be considered by an Independent Auditor, and then by the Liberia and EU authorities who jointly implement the VPA. In late 2011 and 2012 several National NGOs including SDI in collaboration with the NGO Coalition, Green Advocates, VOISED Africa and Chain Saw Union have received funding from the EU and FAO to participate in various forms of capacity building and monitoring in preparation for implementation of the VPA with the EU. The reports from these pre-implementation exercises will be useful to informing the Independent Auditor, which is expected to commence operating in late 2013 to early 2014.
|Title||Ten Core Regulation 108-07 on Chain of Custody; Part Seven Section 72 on Independent Forest Monitoring|
|Organisation||Forestry Development Authority|