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Despite having emerged from the conflict that affected the country for many years, Nicaragua still suffers from poverty, corruption and inequity. Over half of the population lives in poverty, with the poorest 10% of the population receiving barely 1% of the total national income. Nearly half of the country's forests have disappeared over the last 50 years, and those which remain are under threat from the expansion of agriculture and stockbreeding, uncertain land ownership, forest fires, natural disasters and illegal logging.
Global Witness has been doing Independent Forest Monitoring (IFM) in Nicaragua since 2006. Following an expression of interest from the Nicaraguan Forest Authority (INAFOR), Global Witness travelled to the country and held multi-stakeholder discussions with a view to design and implement an IFM Pilot Project. An agreement was subsequently signed between INAFOR and Global Witness.
The objectives of the project were as follows:
- Promote the principles of transparency in law enforcement processes.
- Strengthen the institutional basis for an IFM system in Nicaragua, through the development of working relations with INAFOR and other government institutions, as well as with civil society and the private sector;
- Generate reliable information about illegal logging and trade activities in specific regions of the country;
- Ensure the objectivity and transparency of the monitoring activities carried out by the relevant authorities, through the participation of an independent monitor with international credibility, whose reports and recommendations will be made public following a review of the forest authority; and
- Strengthen the operational capacity of the relevant authorities, through the implementation of joint field missions where experience and skills are shared.
Implementation of the project started in August 2006 and, with the support of the UK Department for International Development (DFID), continued until March 2007. See the First Summary Report of activities for this period. The project subsequently continued from April 2007 with the support of GTZ, thanks to which new field mission reports and a Second Summary Report were produced.
In September 2008 Global Witness and INAFOR, signed a renewed Agreement, which was supported financially by the World Bank and GTZ. Working through local staff and in coordination with government institutions, civil society and other relevant stakeholders, the main objectives included:
- Following up on IFM field mission reports from the previous phase;
- Undertaking and reporting on new IFM field missions;
- Capacity building of civil society through training activities aimed at potential local monitors, and
- Involving local organisations in IFM activities, with a view to identify and eventually hand over IFM to a Nicaraguan monitor.
See all field mission reports here.
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