Monitoring natural resources

While many organisation work on increasing transparency, we tackle governance head on

Solutions to common legality issues concerning wildlife, forests, fisheries and pollution

Resource Extraction Monitoring specialises in Mandated Independent Monitoring (IM) to improve environmental law enforcement and governance. This involves a contractual relationship between a government, donors and REM making REM official Independent Monitor and provides us with access to all processes and documents related to law enforcement as well as right to observe private sector activities in the field. We do not use media campaigns to promote changes which would lead to counterproductive conflicts in this role – although this role can usefully be filled by other NGOs using our findings – but we work very actively and closely with donors and governments through all stages of the system, to promote better practices in law enforcement and changes within these systems. Our key functions are:  

  • Recording, jointly wherever possible with government officials, infractions to regulations by companies related to right to exploit or produce, the exploitation or production, processing, transport, taxation and export. We promote government action at all stages on findings, and participate in joint Government/Donor/monitor meetings to review and publish findings.
  • Monitoring law enforcement officials at all stages of their work to document lack of governance, administrative fraud/corruption, data management issues, lack of techniques, funding and tools. We work with the related ministries and funders to tackle problems identified and stimulate action, including better application of sanctions and legislative reform.

Mandated Independent Monitoring can provide:

Concrete guidance and key information to international processes supporting legality, verification and certification

Mandated monitoring can provided solutions in relation to several issues such as pollution or extraction of resources including fisheries, wildlife or forests, including:

Increased access to vital information on illegality readily available to key decision makers

REM develops information tools to manage and communicate relevant, credible and explicit information in a standardised format on governance issues or illegalities. Those tools are developed to address specific needs of key user groups (e.g. enforcement agents, policy makers) and in synergy with existing government and civil society data management systems. We also support tools demonstrating legality such as tracking systems or supply chain tools.

Improvement of enforcement of environmental laws

We provide technical support, guidance and tools to tackle ineffective cooperation between enforcement agencies; lack of enforcement agents; low compliance for self-monitoring; limited inspections and inefficient procedures preventing timely detection and prosecution; complex environmental impact assessment processes involving multiple agencies; and non-deterrent sanctions and penalties.

Increased tax collection and sanctions

To promote a level-playing field in the private sector, REM ensures allegations of severe infractions of all types and concerning all companies are investigated, this ensures that those companies aiming to operate legally are not financially undermined by the worst operators, but also that governments are able to collect due taxes, and recover financial losses and damages caused by illegalities.

Support to legislative improvements

REM has supported governments in the review, development and improvement or legislation concerning the delivery of titles, the evaluation of damages or concerning the intervention of enforcement services. Aside of technical expertise, we can facilitate consultations and bring concrete solutions built on experience in different countries.



REM's main area of work to date

Two elephants holding tusks


Applying the REM monitoring approach to Wildlife

Shrimp fishing boat with nets out


Pilot monitoring of fisheries in Sri Lanka

Power plant chimneys pumping out smoke


Transfer of monitoring techniques to pollution issues

Our Results

Over 2000 forest infractions for 8 countries entered in Open Transparency Portal Database

REM entered over 2000 forest infractions documented by REM and monitors in WRI’s Open Transparency Portal.

March 2018

National monitors trained in 11 countries

REM trained over 15 years the 3 organisations currently leading IFM in the Congo basin, and over 20 IFMs in…

March 2018

152 forest investigation reports

REM wrote 152 forest reports providing evidence following joint investigations in all major forest titles in the Congo Basin with…

March 2018

Over 100 environmental enforcement officials trained in 3 countries

REM provided on-the-job investigation and legal training to forest law enforcement officials over 15 years.

March 2018

Evidence provided for €7.8 million of taxes unpaid

In a single year, REM documented €7.8 million of taxes (felling and area including debts) not paid in the Republic…

February 2014

Evidence provided for € 2.2 million worth of illegal timber

In the Republic of Congo, some of the severe infractions REM documented included illegal logging valued at € 2.2 million

December 2015