Briefing Document / May 31, 2006

Scoping Study: Independent Forest Monitoring in Ghana (2005)

There is a growing consensus that tropical timber production in Ghana has peaked. As the resource reduces, the state comes under greater pressure from the international community, and its own citizens, to be more efficient and effective in both earning and spending state revenues. A cat-and-mouse game takes place between those who persist in short-term behaviour, rushing for the last few trees of value, and those support a more ‘soft-landing’ approach.

This Scoping Study sets out options for Independent Forest Monitoring (IFM) for the benefit of those responsible for designing and funding it. It seeks to answer questions laid out in a preliminary consultant’s report: "Towards the Introduction of IFM in Ghana - A Discussion Paper", written by Hon. Nayon Bilijo and commissioned by Global Witness.

In order to ensure local ownership and demonstrate the political readiness for IFM, the decision on the form IFM should take is the responsibility of Ghanaian stakeholders. Thus this study does not advocate for any particular approach. The document presents options and lays out the implications for these options on the following factors:

- The relationship between the VPA and VLTP initiatives and IFM
- The range of monitoring work
- The frequency of monitoring work
- The relationship between an international monitor and local organisations
- The Host and Reporting Panel
- Publishing protocols

At the end of each section, a summary and conclusions are presented.