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Forestry Information Remains Poor-Global Witness

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Global Witness’ second annual transparency report says access to information in the forest sector remains generally poor. “While consultation processes may have shown some improvement, access to information in the sector remains generally poor,” the group said.

A dispatch from the Global Witness noted that the lack of basic disclosure persists in key areas such as concession contracts, forest management plans, and what proportion of revenues communities receive from timber felling.

Samuel Nguiffo, Director of the Center for Environment and Development in Cameroon and local project coordinator there, is quoted in the report as saying that in order for the rights of forest communities to be recognized and protected, they needed to know who are involved in each activity taking place in their areas, among others.

According to the report, over a billion people who live in the world’s forests need a say on how their land is used.

“This report shows some improvements in each country from 2009 to 2010, but over all underlines the urgent need for more transparent information and more meaningful consultations with civil society in forested countries,” the release noted.

Notwithstanding, Global Witness said in the release Monday noted  that policy makers negotiating how to finance forest carbon schemes in Bonn this week and Durban in December must take note.

They said partnering with campaign groups in Cameroon, Ghana, Liberia, and Peru, the project measures access to information against a comprehensive set of indicators, and draws lessons for improvements on a national level.

“This represents the first time that grass roots data on community development in forest policy has been compared and contrasted across several countries,” the statement said.

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