Regular inspection is a means of assisting forest operators to comply with approved standards of social, productivity, environmental, quality, and safety and health issues in line with the Code of Forest Harvesting Practices (CFHP). Over the 2019/2020 logging season, eleven mock inspection exercises were conducted across the five regions of FDA. These inspections were done to increase the knowledge of field staff of Forestry Development Authority (FDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Ministry of Labor (MoL) on CFHP and the related Inspection Checklist for the purpose of conducting inspections and improving their aptitudes in assessing a variety of parameters using the checklist. The inspections also offered to operators the opportunity to know the different types of non-conformities in their concessions.
The workshop with 14 participants took place 19th to 20th January at the YMCA Building in Monrovia. It was meant to brief FDA, EPA, and MoL on the summarized inspection report covering the eleven inspections and to suggest a way forward for real inspections. The workshop focused on improving coordination and standardization amongst the three institutions in conducting joint and/or independent inspections related to the mandatory performance requirements of the CFHP, and the reporting of violations for appropriate redress. The objectives of the event were:
- to assign clear responsibilities to FDA, EPA and MoL for assessing the various performance requirements of the CFHP with the Inspection Checklist
- to agree on formats/templates for reporting identified non-compliances per institution
- to identify resources needed for conducting CFHP inspections jointly and/or independently
- to agree on the modalities for developing an inspection plan for the 2020/2021 logging season.
A presentation on reporting of non-compliances enlightened the participants on the types of violations, and the essence of uniform capturing and reporting of non-conformities from the field. The draft Non-Compliance Registry template was presented, and the participants worked in groups (per institution) to review the template.
The workshop also reviewed the institutions’ roles in the Legality Matrix. The review was intended to refresh the awareness of each institution on their responsibilities in the VPA Legality Assurance System beyond being involved in assessing standards set out in the CFHP. The workshop concluded on several important points geared towards improving inspections, as real inspections commence, and following up non-compliances.
Written by: James Kollie