Challenges in collaborating for a sustainable forest management in DRC: evaluation of the Natural Resources Network (RRN) of civil society
- Utgitt: 2008
- Serie: --
- Type: Gjennomganger fra organisasjoner
- Utført av: Kim Bryce
- Bestilt av: Regnskogfondet
- Land: Kongo
- Tema: Klima og miljø
- Antall sider: --
- Serienummer: --
- ISBN: --
- ISSN: --
- Organisasjon: Regnskogfondet
- Lokal partner: Réseau Ressources Naturelles (RRN)
- Prosjektnummer: GLO-07/387-22
The network represents more than 200 members spread all around the country. Since 2004, RFN is supporting RRN’s work on forest resources as its main partner. In 2005, RRN formalised its partnership with RFN under the project called “Reinforcing the advocacy work of Congolese civil society for the development of a political and juridical framework in order to ensure the sustainable management of forest resources, based on the respect for laws and customs of forest-dependant populations”. This evaluation, conducted in 2008, is the first external evaluation of the network and its work in the forestry and advocacy field.
The objective of the evaluation was to assess the relevance and efficiency of the network after four years of functioning. It particularly aimed at understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the structure and management systems, at assessing the impacts of RRN’s activities between 2004 and 2007, and stimulating the capacity building and learning processes. The evaluation would enable RRN to adjust its internal structure, develop its 2008-2012 strategic plan and enhance its efficiency.
The evaluator conducted a three weeks field mission during which she met with the coordination, the Focal Points and members in 5 provinces. The following methods were used: semi-structured interviews, group discussions, documents analysis, and questionnaires to external stakeholders. A full evaluation report was shared with all stakeholders.
RRN strategies: There is no clear document stating RRN’s main objective, which means that RRN’s members have different views on it. No process or forum exists to facilitate discussions on this issue and clarify the global network strategy, as per the membership policy. Still, they share a common vision on the network’s utility and its added value, especially in creating links, spreading the information, capacity building, and facilitating their access to resources. The forest advocacy component represents RRN’s main strategy and work, even if it is only one side of the overall network’s portfolio. This is a result of RRN’s collaboration with donors who focus on the forest sector.
Structure, governance and functioning: RRN includes 11 provincial networks, each with their own dynamics. This structure helps the activities to be rooted in the goals of the targeted local communities. The Focal Points are responsible for representing each of those structures, but their roles and responsibilities are not very formalized. Decisions are taken on a consultative model, finding consensus between the Coordination and the Focal Points. This works well, but in case of conflict the lack of formalization can create situations where decisions are taken without everyone agreeing on it, or where problems are not solved.
Internal management: The coordination team’s work is appreciated by the members and members trust the network. Communication channels are not always optimal, and the network lacks a member’s forum where strategies and administrative issues could be discussed. Circulation of information is assessed as satisfying by the members. The work’s efficiency is negatively impacted by the low-capacity in planning activities in a coherent way: the donors and the RRN do not always agree on the priorities to set up, and the budget allocations do not always correspond to the actual needs in the field. Moreover, delays in receiving the funds have been experienced. This can be explained by the lack of strict coherence to reporting deadlines, finalisation of the annual plans and the need for improvement of administrative procedures.
External management: RRN is perceived as a credible source of information about forestry issues in DRC by the local authorities as well as the international partners, and the network has a very positive image. Most of the partners struggle in distinguishing the work done by RRN or individually by its member’s organizations.
The advocacy project
The logical framework is clear and well conceived, but the mapping part could be emphasised. The fact that the members were not included in the initial discussions about the project affects their global understanding of its objectives. Most objectives are set in the long terms and would need to be clarified in terms of short term realizations. There are no direct result linked to the network functioning in itself (i.e. capacity building of members); addressing this could give a better coherence to all the activities.
RRN has focused on working on education and raising awareness among the communities and the public institutions on the Forestry Code. It has succeeded in influencing the World Bank, the DRC state and all other institutions working on the DRC forest sector to start recognizing Congolese civil society’s, including pygmies’, rights, interests and customs through consultation processes and participative mapping. RRN’s work has also built strong links between civil society actors and authorities, and reinforced the stakeholders’ capacities in understanding and analysing forest policies.
- Ensure a harmonized view on monitoring, internal procedures and allocation of financial resources
- Reinforce the advocacy abilities of all members
- Invest more in the mapping activities
- The advocacy project needs a clearer definition of its strategies, as well as the follow-up methods
- Integrate gender aspects and approach into the project
Comments from the organisation, if any: Nothing additional.