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Frequently Asked Questions


How do you differ from other organisations operating in this area?

REM is currently the only organisation that combines all of the elements below, which provides a new effective approach to independent monitoring to tackle lack of governance and compliance in a meaningful way.

We're a not-for-profit organisation and as such have the commitment to implement projects that are cost-effective and will make a difference rather than just securing contracts, a limitation of the private sector consultant firms. REM specialises in independent monitoring, and is therefore able to objectively report on all issues, whether critical or not.

We monitor governance, law enforcement and compliance in the extraction of natural resources rather than monitoring simply the state of the resource or the process of extraction. REM monitors cases of illegality and how they are tackled by government services from the field through administrative systems to the judiciary, using legislation and other recognised norms as the standards against which to compare the findings.

We are not a campaigning organisation. Campaigning NGOs often adopt confrontational positions towards governments and the private sector. Whilst this can promote action, this can make partnership projects impossible to implement and whether there is partnership or not, raise questions as to the independence of the monitoring organisation. Independent monitoring of law enforcement and governance offers a different and complementary tool to address problems identified and promote positive action.

We monitor with or without partnership with the government. REM seeks partnership with governments wherever possible to support reform. REM however undertakes an assessment of which methodology is the most likely to produce effective results at the outset of each project. This is done in broad consultation by considering for example the level of commitment expressed by the government and the need for access to official information.

We provide comprehensive monitoring from the field to the judiciary. REM undertakes considerable field work jointly with officials but also carries out its own investigations in order to corroborate data and produce comprehensive and reliable reports. REM has considerable expertise in investigating and documenting cases using relevant modern technology, networks of information, knowledge of corruption mechanisms and relevant legislation to produce strong dossiers. Access to official information strengthens investigations but also the systematic documentation of law enforcement processes. For each case of illegal extraction documented with hard evidence, REM also documents how official law enforcement procedures and legislation are applied in the field by officials. Systematic documentation of the follow-up of these cases through administrative processes to the judiciary provides more information on the real situation in law enforcement, together with evidence or dysfunctional procedures, legislation and obstructions. This differs considerably from monitoring discrete steps of law enforcement without drawing a coherent picture of processes and often missing out on the ground information providing crucial understanding of why processes do not work or corruption occurs at successive levels.


What is your experience in this area?

REM was founded and is run by a team with extensive expertise in the forest sector. Our teams are composed of legal and resource experts (e.g. foresters for our work on timber) to produce accurate reports. We were responsible for the concept development and implementation of Independent Monitoring in support of Forest Law Enforcement in Cameroon. Our experience on the ground in Cameroon provided the template for our independent monitoring approach. In addition, our staff has extensive in-country monitoring experience in African, South American, Melanesian and Southeast Asian countries in relation to governance, law enforcement, forest management and the timber trade. We have worked in close collaboration with government, international donors, the private sector and civil society, and have represented civil society on the UK delegation to the Intergovernmental Panel and Intergovernmental Fora on forests/IFF at the United Nations Forests Forum.


Where do you do your work?

REM is based in Cambridge in the UK, but the majority of our work is completed on the ground in-country. We operate in the field where other organisations either do not or cannot work. Our field investigations can allow corrective action that makes monitoring of resources more effective. We focus on gathering hard evidence and documenting it precisely.


What sectors do you work with, other than timber?

Various international initiatives have been launched in the last few years to address failures of governance in the extraction of diamonds (the Kimberley process), oil, natural gas, and other fuels (the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative - EITI), and of course forests (the Congo Basin Forest Partnership and Asian and African Forest Law Enforcement Governance Processes). There is a clear need for independent monitoring of each of the above resource sectors, and REM is uniquely suited to contribute to ongoing initiatives to address this need. One area REM is actively branching out into is fisheries, which is plagued by many of the same governance problems as the forestry sector. For more information please refer to our fisheries page.



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