Since 2009 Making the Forest Sector Transparent has documented how well governments have met commitments to improve forest sector governance and transparency. Overall, it reveals that despite efforts at reform, there are many gaps in practice and not one forest authority is meeting all of its obligations. Forests are under severe threat from logging, mining and other industries, yet poor management and corruption facilitate their destruction and mean that the rights of those who live in them are often ignored. Transparency is essential for ensuring that people get the information they need to have a real say in decisions on their forests.
Making the Forest Sector Transparent is a partnership between Global Witness and leading NGOs in seven countries - Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ecuador, Ghana, Guatemala, Liberia and Peru. Each year, the partners produce a report card using a common set of indicators. This annual process monitors progress in forest sector reforms, like the Voluntary Partnership Agreements with the European Union on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade. Each NGO also produces a country-specific report to focus on particular issues and perceptions of local people, and administers small grants to promote grassroots activism and capacity building. The programme has used these activities to advocate for inclusive forest governance and hold officials to account in each country.
The common report card has evolved over the course of the programme. In 2012, it consists of 20 key indicators using a yes/partial/no traffic light and an assessment of change since the last year with supporting analysis and sources. Twelve indicators focus on whether the legal, policy and regulatory framework includes provisions for forest sector transparency and good governance ('Framework' indicators) and eight on whether key documents and data on forest sector activities are comprehensively and regularly published ('Data' indicators). The website is structured to include the following information:
- Country 'dashboards' with key findings and facts from which the 20 country indicators can be accessed (e.g. Cameroon dashboard)
- Achievements and updates highlighting changes in the forest sector as a result of advocacy and capacity building in each country (e.g. Cameroon achievements)