COMIFAC : evaluation workshop on AFLEG/FLEGT Task Force (13-15 May)

From 13 to 15 May 2009, the regional workshop for the Task Force monitoring AFLEG / FLEGT took place in Douala, Cameroon, under the aegis of Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC) and with the technical and financial support of the GTZ. The opening ceremony was chaired by COMIFAC’s Deputy Executive Secretary Mr. Martin TADOUM. The workshop’s objective was to assess both the Task force’s organizational performance and achievements on the one hand, and to formulate recommendations for the future on the other hand. It brought together approximately thirty participants representing departments in charge of forests and environment, representatives of civil society organization networks and development partners. In his opening speech, after welcoming the participants, the Deputy Executive Secretary rapidly gave a review about the Task Force and stressed how necessary it was to assess the functioning and impacts of this regional group after thirty months of existence. Finally, he expressed COMIFAC’S wish to get a clear and uncompromising assessment in everybody’s interest, namely in the interest of the Task Force and its future, before declaring the workshop open.
 Official French Communique issued by COMIFAC

Following the opening session, a workshop secretariat was established with the members hereafter :
- Mr Alain PENELON, Secretary of the Task Force’s steering committee,
- Mr Moulnang TAL, COMIFAC national coordinator of Chad, member and
- Mr Valery TCHUANTE, assessment and monitoring expert, COMIFAC, member.

The topic discussed dealt with the following points :
- the assessment of the external context ;
- the assessment of the Task Force’s organizational capacity, and
- the assessment of the organizational motivation.

The workshop took place both within a plenary session and groups and the following crucial points were outlined :

- Though appointed by their organization and well identified by the COMIFAC/CEFDHAC, the Task Force members are fully aware of the fact that the Task Force did not have a proven influence on the forestry governance.
- Despite its responsibilities, the Task Force’s functioning was handicapped for several reasons such as the inadequate effective participation of delegates, the non-involvement of the private sector and the lack of information between the different actors.
En dépit de ses responsabilités, la Task Force a été handicapée dans son fonctionnement pour plusieurs raisons dont notamment, la participation effective des délégués inadéquate, la non implication du secteur privé et le manque de circulation de l'information entre les différents acteurs.
- The Task Force did not meet the expectations of the different stakeholders for the reasons mentioned above.

The plenary debates enabled the participants to agree on the following points :
1. The Task Force shall not disappear but evolve in its operation ;
2. It shall work on precise regional set of themes so as to suggest to COMIFAC some guidance on forest governance;
3. It shall target experts to be mobilized in order to take up priority issues of the forest governance, issues that are jointly identified with COMIFAC’s Executive Secretary;
4. Information and experience exchange will mainly occur through an electronic communication platform of COMIFAC on the initiative of the Executive Secretary or each member and through particular thematic workshops.

The major topics put on record deal with :
A. Legality, traceability, certification
B. Redistribution of forest tax
C. International topical issues (climate change, global financial crisis, etc)

Participants recommend to the COMIFAC Executive Secretary to take note of this workshop’s conclusions, to go on with and to finalize the restructuring of the Task Force. The workshop’s closing remarks was given by Ms Jacqueline MADOZEIN on behalf of COMIFAC’s Executive Secretary.

Douala, 15 May 2009
The participants


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