independent forest monitoring

Independent Forest Monitoring (IFM)

Our work with civil society groups in forest-rich countries to engage with policy makers to improve access to information and advocate for capable, responsive and accountable forest sector governance – including through IFM.

Our work with civil society groups in forest-rich countries to engage with policy makers to improve access to information and advocate for capable, responsive and accountable forest sector governance – including through IFM.

Global Witness pioneered IFM between 1999 and 2008, through which we promoted cooperation between governments, civil society, and the private sector in timber-producing countries such as Cambodia, Cameroon, Honduras and Nicaragua.

IFM entails the use of an independent third party that, by agreement with state authorities, provides an assessment of legal compliance, and observation of and guidance on official forest law enforcement systems (see our Guide to IFM).

Between 2009 and 2012 we continued working with local activist groups in Latin America and Africa, piloting a report card approach to assess public access to forest information.

Alongside this, we used our IFM expertise to develop the concept of Independent Monitoring of REDD (IM-REDD), advocating it as a core building block in the overall REDD+ architecture.
  • Campaign

    Forest transparency

    Making the Forest Sector Transparent was a four year project that supported civil society groups in forest-rich countries to engage with policy makers and advocate for accountable forest sector governance.
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  • Report

    A Decade of Experience - Lessons Learned from Independent Forest Monitoring to Inform REDD

    Independent Forest Monitoring (IFM) has been developed over the last decade to monitor logging, legal compliance and forest law enforcement. Through the provision of publicly accessible, objective information on the control of activities in the forest sector, IFM addresses governance and transparency and supports forest law enforcement. IFM is, in effect, a form of systems or governance monitoring. This report presents a detailed review and analysis of lessons learned from implementing IFM in practice.
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  • Briefing

    IFM in Nicaragua

    Despite having emerged from the conflict that affected the country for many years, Nicaragua still suffers from poverty, corruption and inequity.
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  • Briefing

    IFM in Honduras

    Over half of Honduras, the third poorest country in Latin America, is covered by forests. The country relies heavily on external aid and suffers from a drastically unequal distribution of income.
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  • Briefing

    IFM in Cambodia (1999-2003)

    Global Witness was appointed the official independent monitor of Cambodia's forestry sector in 1999 and played this role until 2003.
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  • Report

    Scoping Study: IFM in Ghana

    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.
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  • Briefing Document

    Principles for Independent Monitoring of REDD (IM-REDD)

    Governance is key to REDD+. Through internationally agreed principles, safeguards and standards, a roadmap for progress towards the good governance required for successful REDD+ will be developed. Importantly, it will be owned by the countries concerned. A clear conflict of interest exists if governments monitor their own performance. A set of 10 principles can be dervied from Independent Forest Monitoring, developed over the decade to address precisely this problem.
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