Civil Society-led Independent Forest Monitoring in Ghana (CSIFM-Ghana) is a project being implemented by Civic Response through FAO FLEGT PROGRAMME, with funding from European Union, the Swedish International Co-operation Agency and the United Kingdom Department for International Development.
The FLEGT-VPA process provides the vehicle for Ghana to improve upon the existing weak forest governance, which has been identified as one of the major underlying causes of illegal logging in the country. Article 16 of the Ghana-EU VPA document makes provisions for stakeholder involvement in the VPA implementation process. However, it fell short of clearly defining specific roles. Notwithstanding, CSOs strongly believe that the FLEGT-VPA document is very detailed and addresses most of the governance challenges of the forestry sector.
Access to timely and credible information has hindered effective CSO monitoring of FLEGT-VPA processes in Ghana. Despite recurrent statements by the Government during Joint Monitoring and Review Mechanism (JMRM) meetings about its willingness to make information available to stakeholders, lack of funds and a system to make information easily accessible to stakeholders has stalled this commitment.
The CSIFM-Ghana project aims at tackling these problems by using innovation and technology to make information already available in the GWTS accessible to all stakeholders. The project also seeks to entrench Civil Society participation in VPA implementation by recruiting, training and equipping CSOs and other non-state actors in TVD legality verification standards to participate in TVD audits as observers.