The purpose of this toolkit is to introduce readers to the complex relationship between land and violent conflict and to provide guidance on recommended approaches and actions to address some of the root causes of conflict. This understanding can help staff diagnose a problem, support strategic planning, and develop projects and activities that build on a robust appraisal of local context and conditions.
Document Type: Other
Strengthening Community-Based Wildlife Management in Zambia
Zambia’s protected areas are home to abundant wildlife which bring in millions of tourism dollars annually. Yet each year, agriculture encroaches on wildlife habitats, intensifying human-wildlife conflict that results in crop destruction, livestock attacks, and deadly human-animal encounters. Within the wildlife & natural resource sectors in Zambia, men make up the vast majority of wildlife scouts who patrol the country’s national parks & hold most positions on Community Resource Boards (CRBs), responsible for local natural resource management.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Integrated Land and Resource Governance (ILRG) program works to mitigate threats to wildlife by securing community land rights, strengthening community governance structures and land use planning in wildlife areas, increasing women’s participation in wildlife governance and law enforcement, and advancing the wildlife economy. ILRG piloted a gender responsive CRB election process & provided capacity building support to women members. ILRG is working with NGO extension agents to integrate women’s leadership modules into trainings, creating a new cohort of wildlife sector professionals who understand the importance of women’s empowerment in achieving natural resource objectives. The program also worked with the Department of National Parks & Wildlife to recruit & train a cadre of women scouts to patrol Lower Zambezi National Park, which included gender-based violence mitigation efforts.
- The Voice of Leadership: Women in Wildlife in Zambia
- Young Women Stand Their Ground in Zambia’s Wildlife Sector
- Increasing Women’s Participation in Community Natural Resource Governance in Zambia
- Increasing Women’s Participation in Community Resource Boards in Zambia: Outcomes and Lessons Learned from the Election process
- Brief: Gender Assessment of the Wildlife Sector in Zambia
- Brief: Gender-Based Violence in the Natural Resource Sector in Zambia
- Breaking Down Employment Barriers in Zambia: Increasing Opportunities for Female Community Scouts
- Wildlife Resource Governance in Zambia: Where are the Women?
- Learning to Share the Land in Zambia
- Documenting Individual Land Rights to Save Zambia’s Forests
- From the Ground Up: Participatory Rights Documentation for Healthy Landscapes
- Strengthening community-based natural resource management in Zambia
- Growing a Wildlife Industry in Zambia
Rooted in the ground – Reforming Ghana’s forest laws to incentivize cocoa-based agroforestry: Summary for policy makers
The government of Ghana claims state ownership of all “naturally occurring” trees, including on land privately held under customary title. The lack of tree tenure and inability to capture economic benefits from trees is a major driver of tree loss and disincentivizes cocoa agroforestry. This brief analyzes tree tenure law and policy in Ghana, including the proposed tree registration policy and justifications for state ownership of naturally occurring trees based in the 1992 Constitution. The authors propose an alternative interpretation of the 1992 Constitution based on customary law and usage that allows devolution of all tree rights to customary landowners without a constitutional amendment and removes the need for a tree registry. Evidence from devolution of tree tenure in the Sahel and China shows that devolution can lead to increased tree cover. Based on this analysis a series of recommendations on tree tenure reform are posed for government, the cocoa sector, donors, and civil society.
COCOA AND FORESTS
Ghana is the world’s second largest cocoa producer, and cocoa plays a critically important role in the economy with an estimated 30 percent of Ghana’s population dependent on cocoa for part or all their livelihoods. However, the cocoa sector is in trouble and smallholder cocoa production does not provide a reliable livelihood or ensure a healthy and sustainable ecosystem.
Traditional cocoa farms retained large shade trees which preserved many economically and environmentally important trees within the landscape. In the late 1950s the government inserted itself into the timber market and claimed rights to naturally occurring trees on cocoa farms. This led to increased timber harvesting from cocoa farms that was exacerbated in the 1980s when Ghana’s cocoa marketing board changed its policy and advocated removing shade trees and switching to more sun tolerant cocoa varieties to increase productivity. The new cocoa board policy produced short-term yield gains, but also increased susceptibility to diseases and shortened cocoa trees’ productive life. The combined pressures from forestry and cocoa led to deforestation and fragmentation of forest landscape in Ghana’s high forest zone and widespread removal of shade trees from farms. An average of 138,000 hectares of forest was lost per year from 2000 to 2015 and in 2007 it was estimated that 72 percent of cocoa farms across Ghana had “no to light” levels of shade.
The government of Ghana and cocoa industry actors acknowledge the vital role of improved cocoa production systems to mitigate and adapt to climate change, maintain biodiversity, conserve and enhance ecosystem services, and improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their families. They recognize that increasing the diversity of shade tree species in Ghana’s cocoa-growing landscape is critical to improve the health and sustainability of cocoa production and diversify income and resilience for cocoa households.
Rooted in the ground: Reforming Ghana’s forest laws to incentivize cocoa-based agroforestry
The government of Ghana claims state ownership of all “naturally occurring” trees, including on land privately held under customary title. The lack of tree tenure and inability to capture economic benefits from trees is a major driver of tree loss and disincentivizes cocoa agroforestry. This report analyzes tree tenure law and policy in Ghana, including the proposed tree registration policy and justifications for state ownership of naturally occurring trees based in the 1992 Constitution. The authors propose an alternative interpretation of the 1992 Constitution based on customary law and usage that allows devolution of all tree rights to customary landowners without a constitutional amendment and removes the need for a tree registry. Evidence from devolution of tree tenure in the Sahel and China show that devolution can lead to increased tree cover. Based on this analysis a series of recommendations on tree tenure reform are posed for government, the cocoa sector, donors, and civil society.
COCOA AND FORESTS
Ghana is the world’s second largest cocoa producer, and cocoa plays a critically important role in the economy with an estimated 30 percent of Ghana’s population dependent on cocoa for part or all of their livelihoods. However, the cocoa sector is in trouble and smallholder cocoa production does not provide a reliable livelihood or ensure a healthy and sustainable ecosystem.
Traditional cocoa farms retained large shade trees which preserved many economically and environmentally important trees within the landscape. In the late 1950s the government inserted itself into the timber market and claimed rights to naturally occurring trees on cocoa farms. This led to increased timber harvesting from cocoa farms that was exacerbated in the 1980’s when Ghana’s cocoa marketing board changed its policy and advocated removing shade trees to increase cocoa productivity. The new cocoa board policy produced short term yield gains, but also increased susceptibility to diseases and shortened cocoa trees’ productive life. The combined pressures from forestry and cocoa led to deforestation and fragmentation of forest landscape in Ghana’s high forest zone and widespread removal of shade trees from farms. An average of 138,000 hectares of forest was lost per year from 2000 to 2015 and in 2007 it was estimated that 72 percent of cocoa farms across Ghana had “no to light” levels of shade.
The government of Ghana and cocoa industry actors acknowledge the vital role of improved cocoa production systems to mitigate and adapt to climate change, maintain biodiversity, conserve and enhance ecosystem services, and improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their families. They recognize that increasing the number and quality of trees in Ghana’s cocoa-growing landscape is critical to improve the health and sustainability of cocoa production and diversify income and resilience for cocoa households.
TREE TENURE: A KEY CHALLENGE TO RESTORING COCOA FOREST LANDSCAPE
A leading challenge to planting more shade trees is government ownership and control of all naturally occurring timber trees – even on privately held land. State ownership of naturally occurring trees is widely considered a strong disincentive for landowners and smallholders, regardless of land tenure, to nurture trees on their cocoa farms. In part this is because the benefits of harvesting naturally occurring trees are shared between loggers, traditional authorities, and the government, but landowners are excluded. Numerous government policy documents over the last decade have advocated for vesting title to naturally occurring trees with communities and farmers who cultivate and tend these trees.
TREE REGISTRATION IS NOT EFFECTIVE TREE TENURE REFORM
The current tree tenure reform efforts are focused on establishing a national tree registry where farmers can register title to trees on their land. Early tree registration policy allowed farmers to register planted trees as proof of ownership but maintained state ownership of naturally occurring trees. More recent policy allows farmers to register both planted and naturally occurring trees and separates rights to trees from rights to the land. This proposed separation of rights to land and trees changes customary tenure norms and creates the potential for conflict on many cocoa farms.
There are other problems with the proposed tree registration policy. If a farmer fails to register planted trees, the default determination is that planted trees were naturally occurring and owned by the state. It is also unrealistic and unsustainable to successfully establish and maintain a national tree registry. Tree registration is estimated to cost from $27 – $40 per farm, which scales to a cost of between US$47.5 million and US$86.4 million to register all the trees in Ghana’s cocoa farms. This does not include the Forestry Commission’s costs to process 1.7 million to 2.1 million individual records from cocoa farmers, the costs of tree registration in other parts of Ghana, or the costs to maintain the registry over time.
THE 1992 CONSTITUTION: A BARRIER TO REFORM?
Government sponsored policy reforms that argue cocoa farmers should have rights over all trees growing on their farms are a significant and positive step in the right direction. However, these calls for reform are accompanied by arguments that the current law is based on the 1992 Constitution, and that any law reform requires difficult constitutional amendments. There are two key issues under the 1992 Constitution: i) how natural resources and rights to naturally occurring trees are interpreted; and ii) how revenue from these resources is allocated.
INTERPRETATION OF THE 1992 CONSTITUTION THAT PROTECTS VESTED INTERESTS
The government claims naturally occurring trees on cocoa farms are considered a natural resource, and ownership of these trees is not separated from ownership of the land. However, stool lands are vested in the Stool who own them “on trust” for the Stool subjects, with government involved in regulation and management. While customary rights to stool land can be passed down to farmers, the Stool and state have retained rights to natural resources to exercise their fiduciary responsibilities as trustee. As naturally occurring trees are part of the Stool’s resources, the Stool and government divide up the proceeds from timber revenue according to the constitutionally mandated split. This poses a major challenge as farmers are excluded from the revenue. Planted trees, on the other hand, are treated the same as crops whereby ownership does not by default coincide with ownership of the land. Farmers possess all ownership, management, and use rights to planted trees – and the subsequent benefits.
ALTERNATIVE INTERPRETATION THAT SUPPORTS DEVOLUTION
The authors analyzed the 1992 Constitution, customary tenure practices in the cocoa growing regions, and literature on tree tenure in Ghana and propose an alternative interpretation with two parts:
- First, the main customary land rights of usufructs, asideε, and abunu that support rural farmland holdings are created by clearing the natural resource of the primary forest. As a result, there is no remaining natural resource on usufruct, asideε, or abunu farmland.
- Second, all trees that are currently considered “naturally occurring” (and therefore argued to be a natural resource owned by the stool) are more correctly understood as farmed trees. As a result, they should be treated the same as planted trees and owned by the landowner.
This alternative interpretation results in eliminating the distinction between naturally occurring and planted trees on customary land with all rights to all trees flowing with these family or individual rights to the land. It also removes the need to register trees and allows tree tenure policy reform to move ahead without a constitutional amendment. The proposed interpretation of the 1992 Constitution and recognition of farmer’s rights to all trees on their land should incentivize farmers to cultivate more timber and shade trees on their lands as they would be the legal and beneficial owners of these trees.
LESSONS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES
It can be difficult to establish a cause and effect relationship between tenure systems and sustainable forest systems, and evidence from other countries can help inform policy reform in Ghana. The most instructive cases for Ghana on devolution of rights are the innovative and impactful policy reforms that have been implemented in Sahelian West Africa and northern China. In both examples the devolution of rights to individuals led to increased forest cover, although in China this also required access to markets and benefits. This lesson from China is key: devolution of rights on its own may not be sufficient to incentivize tree planting. Devolution must be coupled with landowner’s access to markets and benefits.
Ghana can also look to neighboring Côte d’Ivoire, which has gone through rounds of forest law reform in 2014 and 2019 that has resulted in provisions to explicitly state that natural or planted trees belong to the landowner. However, uncertainty and conflicts over underlying land tenure in Côte d’Ivoire highlight the need to look at both the land and tree governance framework together, along with the needs and motivations of end users and other stakeholders.
Other countries have experimented with tree registration systems with contrasting results. In Thailand, a government bank invested US$1 billion as part of a corporate responsibility initiative to establish a tree bank to help farmers access loans and income and has successfully registered over 11 million trees. The Philippines shares more similarities to Ghana, where a registry was established to differentiate ownership of naturally occurring and planted trees, but this has not been successful.
The Government of Ghana and the USAID recognize that strengthening land and tree rights is critical for Ghana to achieve its development goals both within the cocoa sector and more broadly. However, forest resources in Ghana represent an important source of revenue for the government, so bold reforms that limit or remove the state’s control have met strong resistance by the Forestry Commission and customary powerholders, including the Stools and chiefs. As a result, years, even decades, of tweaking and modifying the legal and policy frameworks have been ineffective as the focus has been on enforcing and adjusting an inherently unenforceable and unfair legislative framework rather than tackling core issues.
Bold reform to divest tree tenure to customary landowners without any need to register each individual tree is needed. To help achieve this, a series of recommendations was developed for key stakeholders.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF GHANA
- Enact law reform to divest all tree rights to landowners. The law should be clear that all rights to all trees flows with rights to the land and this applies to customary rights holders. Rights to emission reductions can be separated from tree tenure and should not prevent devolution.
- Implement and enforce existing permit regimes to generate revenue for the Forestry Commission. This can help replace lost revenue from the devolution of tree tenure.
- Establish a fit-for-purpose rural land registry.
- Engage in public consultation and outreach during and after the reform process.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE COCOA SECTOR
- Re-direct funds away from tree registration pilots to focus on other priorities.
- Expand tree planting programs. This could be coupled with other policy innovations such as a payment for ecosystem services scheme or a tree bank like in Thailand.
- Support customary land title registration.
- Work with industry associations to support tree tenure reform including outreach to cocoa farmers.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR DONORS
- Develop a unified response to Ghana’s tree registration policy to ensure donor support is aligned.
- Help Ghana finalize the necessary legal and policy reforms to devolve tree tenure, including how devolution can comply with the sale of emission reductions to the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility. This may include supporting some of the outreach and convening and other costs of the reform process.
- Support additional research on devolution of tree tenure. For example, ILRG suggests carrying out further analysis to help quantify Forestry Commission revenue from the proposed reforms.
- Support land title registration, including through use of cost-effective mapping technologies and digital databases.
- Support public outreach on tree tenure.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CIVIL SOCIETY
- Conduct outreach and engagement with all stakeholders to help push for reform.
- Support tree planting programs, particularly once reform has been enacted.
Lexique des Acteurs Miniers
La plupart des termes employés par les artisans miniers, les collecteurs, les coxeurs, et les débrouillards ne sont pas connus de tous et ne sont pas aussi documentés, par manque d’études linguistiques et sociologiques appropriées du milieu. Cette méconnaissance a posé d’énormes soucis au niveau national qu’international dans la compréhension et la connaissance du milieu de l’artisanat minier de Centrafrique. Cette difficulté est ressentie également au niveau du cadre opérationnel du Processus de Kimberley (PK), qui a utilisé certains termes qui ne cadrent pas avec la réalité artisanale minière et qui ont par conséquence la difficulté de la mise en œuvre de certains articles énumérés par ce document. En exemple : le terme site minier, qui est défini dans le milieu de l’artisanat minier Centrafricain étant comme un ensemble de chantiers appartenant aux différents propriétaires. Cependant, le cadre opérationnel a défini le même terme étant comme un chantier appartenant à un propriétaire, et le chantier comme un puits d’exploitation.
C’est dans cette optique que le projet Droits de Propriété et Artisanat Minier (DPAM) a mené cette recherche avec l’appui du Secrétariat Permanent du Processus de Kimberley (SPPK), des Cadres du Ministère en Charge des Mines, et l’Université de Bangui, afin de documenter ces différents termes, qui sont validés dans un atelier organisé à Bangui du 27 au 28 juin 2019 regroupant tous les acteurs du secteur. Il est à préciser que, la plupart de ces termes ont été vérifiés et confirmés lors des différentes missions de terrain qui ont été organisées dans l’ouest, dans le sud-ouest et le nord-ouest du pays. Cependant, les termes de l’Est du pays ont été vérifiés auprès des acteurs ressortissants de cette partie du pays.
Consultation Meeting on the USAID Draft Policy on Indigenous Peoples’ Issues Summary of Participant Perspectives
INTEGRATED LAND AND RESOURCE GOVERNANCE TASK ORDER UNDER THE STRENGTHENING TENURE AND RESOURCE RIGHTS II (STARR II) IDIQ
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is developing a policy to guide its engagement with indigenous peoples. USAID recognizes that indigenous peoples contribute to global development and have a crucial role to play in achieving the agency’s objectives. The policy will guide USAID’s efforts to include indigenous peoples as partners in its development programming. USAID aims to ensure that every USAID activity that impacts the lives, territories, resources, and/or livelihoods of indigenous peoples engages them directly to ensure that their communities benefit, their rights are respected, and they can practice self-determined development.
On October 23, 2018, USAID released a consultation Draft USAID Policy on Indigenous Peoples’ Issues (hereinafter the “draft policy”). To gain feedback on the draft policy, USAID posted the draft policy on its website for general public comment between October 23 and November 9th, 2018. USAID also hosted a two-day consultation meeting with indigenous peoples’ representatives and international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) on November 14 – 15, 2018 in Washington DC. The consultation meeting was facilitated by the Integrated Land and Resource Governance (ILRG) Program, a USAID program implemented by Tetra Tech. ILRG is a task order under the Strengthening Tenure and Resource Rights II (STARR II) Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract supported by the USAID Land and Urban Office.
Indigenous peoples’ representatives from the following countries attended the consultation meeting: Bangladesh, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Indonesia, Kenya, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, and Peru. Some representatives of INGOs that work closely with indigenous peoples, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and USAID also participated. A total of 46 people attended the consultation meeting. Of these, there were 18 indigenous peoples’ representatives, 13 INGO representatives, one independent consultant, eight United States (US) government representatives, and six Tetra Tech representatives. An online platform was also made available for invited persons to contribute written comments on the draft policy both before and after the consultation meeting. Eight participants submitted comments before the November 9 deadline. Following the consultation meeting, participants were given a few additional days (until November 20) to submit additional written comments. Two more participants submitted comments by November 20.
The consultation meeting consisted of two main elements of discussion: a) Sessions for USAID to present the draft policy and its key components with time for participants to ask clarifying questions; and b) Sessions for indigenous peoples’ and INGO representatives to discuss the elements of the draft policy and express their views. This report is an output of the consultation meeting and the written input from its participants. It provides a summary of the perspectives and recommendations as expressed at the consultation meeting and as provided on the online platform in writing.
This report will be provided to all invited participants, and made available in English, French, and Spanish, in the spirit of the shared dialogue and conversations that took place during the consultation meeting. This report will also be used by USAID as it produces the final version of its new Policy on Indigenous Peoples’ Issues. As a summary, the report does not relay all comments made or all the details and background provided by participants. This report complements USAID’s own notes on the conversations that took place during the consultation meeting as well as their reading of the written comments submitted via the online platform.
AgroInvest Strategy for Implementing Agriculture Producer Organizations’ Capacity Building Programs
More than 70 percent of labor-intensive agricultural products that are consumed by the population in large quantities on a daily basis – potato, fruit, vegetable, milk, and meat – are produced by individual homesteads (4,700,000 IH) and farms (42,400 farms). Many can be classified as subsistence units, farming on land plots less than a hectare and producing primarily for their own needs. Others, producing on larger land plots from one to five hectares or growing fresh vegetables under covered surfaces of at least 2,000 m2 are marginally commercial but need access to credit and formal product market facilities to develop long-term financial viability. A recent study of small-grower fresh produce marketing in Lviv indicated that on average, village level growers consume 22% of total vegetables produced, sell 28%, but lose 50% because of wastage caused by poor postharvest handling technologies. By reducing wastage, it was estimated that each 1% increase in marketable product sales could add some 11 UAH million to village incomes. In addition to producers with limited land under cultivation, the AgroInvest target population includes SMP growers of fresh fruits and vegetables, field crops including grains and oilseeds, milk and livestock with annual gross sales of $500,000 or less. The larger-scale growers face product quality and market access problems similar to those faced by smaller growers but on a larger scale.
To address fresh fruit and vegetable grower product quality constraints caused by poor harvest and postharvest techniques, and improving incomes by increasing marketable sales – the GOU is implementing a national program to construct a network of “Wholesale Markets of Agricultural Products” (WMAP) that includes construction of storage and produce packing facilities in production areas and at the new regional wholesale markets. The role of this program in expanding market access of small-scale fresh produce growers is addressed in the Component 3.2 Market Infrastructure Strategy discussion. The MAPF supported grain warehouse receipts program addresses similar constraints faced by field crop growers. In both cases, by organizing SMP growers into viable Producer Organizations – including service cooperatives or producer marketing associations – they are able to access product markets by adopting bulk marketing strategies, foster production of competitive products, mitigate market price fluctuation risks, and access new markets.
A second constraint limiting commercial viability of SMP growers of all agricultural products is lack of access to short, medium, and long-term credit sources. As clearly shown by the AgroInvest credit constraints analysis, the overriding constraint faced by most SMP growers is the lack of a documented historical cash flow records to substantiate credit payback ability to loan review officials. Again, Producer Organizations provide a mechanism through which individual growers can improve their accounting and overall record keeping skills needed to develop such records, reduce input costs through group purchases and gain access to credit sources that are not available if applications are made at an individual level.
The Component 3.1 PO Strategy builds on lessons learned from some 15 years of experience in forming Grower Service Cooperatives in Ukraine and from more recent experience with use of legal input and marketing associations that directly link SMP growers to input suppliers, including bank and non-bank lending organizations, and to various product market outlets.
EPI Recommendations for Reforming Georgia’s Investment Legislation
Attracting investment is one of Georgia’s key priorities to promote sustainable economic development. The Government of Georgia (GoG) has carried out significant reforms to improve the investment environment, as reflected in Georgia’s extraordinarily high ranking, 12th out of 183 countries, in the World Bank’s Doing Business Index for 2011 (World Bank and International Finance Corporation, 2010). Some recent reforms have sought to further improve the investment environment. A working group at the Parliamentary Sector Economy and Economic Policy Committee has recently been established to streamline and update Georgia’s investment legislation. A new Draft Law of Georgia on Investment Activities has been developed by the Committee, combining the essential provisions of the three above laws. The Committee recognizes that draft law needs careful examination and has sought feedback from stakeholders. Further efforts are required to refine this draft legislation to bring it into line with international best practices, including bringing the language on investment protections and guarantees in line with international standard language and aligning the structure and functions of the Georgia National Investment Agency (GNIA) with its evolving mandate and functions related to investment promotion.
EPI Report: Regulatory Impact Assessment Tax Payment Simplification
The complexity of the treasury code and tax payment system of Georgia has been recognized as highly bureaucratic, time-consuming, and costly, creating the basis for errors and mistakes that adversely affect tax compliance and contribute to administrative and enforcement costs. The Revenue Service (RS) has to sort through excessive number of noncompliance cases and, unless one is willing to punish honest taxpayers, the RS must invest significant resources on distinguishing between mischief and error. Beyond the direct costs of noncompliance that can be measured quantitatively (e.g., time and revenue losses), these complexities have created a tremendous source of frustration for Georgia taxpayers. Furthermore, they reduce the system’s transparency and undermine the trust in its fair application.
While direct costs have been recognized as important, these complexities have also impeded opportunities for successful tax planning and analysis for the government, which results in an uncoordinated, ineffective, and inefficient allocation of resources. Moreover, they create distortions and confusion amongst taxpayers, and enforcement becomes increasingly more difficult, more costly, and less successful.
The objective of the proposed regulation encompasses an overall simplification and reengineering of the current tax system, designed to achieve clear, streamlined, fair, and efficient operations within the RS. The forecast results for the RS include improved taxpayer compliance, higher revenues, and sufficient and timely internal operations.
The technical team’s analysis demonstrates clear and measurable costs and benefits that the Georgian government can use to compare the given options. Specifically, the team analyzed two options of possible action, and the related potential opportunities and requirements:
- Option 1: Doing nothing. This option covers “as-Is” state of current regulation, and outlines the challenges related to present legislation and practices.
- Option 2: Analyzes the introduction of a single treasury code payment process for taxpayers, with an emphasis on the potential benefits and costs related to the reform.
EPI Paper: Georgia Trade Exchange
The paper puts forth the recommendation to proceed in moving trade facilitation in Georgia to the next level, which is the development of the Georgian Trade Exchange (GTX). This will bring together all of the players — small, medium, and large — involved in trade into one central system of information sharing and processing. It is the logical next step for the government of Georgia to pursue, because the overall feeling is this has been a long time in coming, and will have a very positive impact on trade facilitation.
The United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) defines a Single Window (SW) as “a facility that allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardized information and documents with a single entry point to fulfill all import, export, and transit-related regulatory requirements.” It is a one-stop service portal providing an integrated electronic gateway that enables trade-related information and documents to be submitted by exporters, importers, customs brokers, freight forwarders, shipping agents, and other players in the international trade chain only once at a single entry point. This information and documents are then transmitted to customs, quarantine, licensing, port, and other government authorities, as well as to insurance companies, banks, and all other private agencies involved in international trade. An SW can also facilitate the payment of duties, taxes, fees, and commercial invoices and the use of various value-adding services, such as e-training and e-marketing.
As specified in UN/CEFACT Recommendation No. 33, the SW concept refers to a facility that allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardized information and documents with a single entry point to fulfill all import, export, and transit-related regulatory requirements. If information is electronic, then individual data elements should only be submitted once.
The building blocks are in place, and some of the industries have or are in the process of becoming mature enough to utilize the functionality of an SW. The SW will be a set of interface specifications for the interaction between various government and private trade systems. These interface specifications should be open and public, and competition among suppliers of different solutions will be encouraged, which further drives down the costs for the ultimate users. There will be no need to impose single system architecture on Trade — any style of system and distribution of operations should be acceptable as long as it complies with the data definitions and other protocol specifications set by the lead government agency.
The successful introduction and implementation of an SW concept depends to a considerable extent on certain preconditions and success factors that vary from country to country and from project to project. Some of these conditions are as follows:
- Political Will
- Strong Lead Agency
- Partnership Between Government and Trade
- Establishment of Clear Project Boundaries and Objectives
- International Standards and Recommendations
- Communications Strategy
- Identification of Possible Obstacles
As mentioned previously, many of these conditions are part of the mindset in Georgia; more specifically, the first three are very positive conditions as they relate to Georgia. These three are the main conditions that, if negative, can impede any project of this size and scope to begin at all. Many of the others are typical of a large project and will need to be addressed when and if they occur at all. But with the first three conditions being positive, any negative conditions can be addressed with a solution.
In order to develop the GTX, there needs to be a sponsor who is a nonparticipant, preferably a government agency. There is a government group that is willing to be the sponsor or lead organization in Georgia, and this is the Data Exchange Agency (DEA). They are setting the standards involved in the processing of the data and also in the developing of the infrastructure to process the data.
Implementation of the GTX requires process change and process improvement. Implementing software solutions without first reviewing and improving the processes performed is not the correct way to proceed. Software solutions by their own are not the solution, and many times it makes things worst. This is a union between process improvement and technology implementation. Together, they are a powerful combination that can assist any business or industry get to the next level. It does not always mean that high-tech solutions ICT be applied in order to achieve global standards in trade facilitation.
One other point is that the implementation should be gradual and progressive, where early benefits can be demonstrated and thereby grow the appetite both in the trade and government for continued development. One needs to show progress and, more importantly, a commitment to the concept of the GTX. Phase I in any major project like this one is the most important phase. It is important that Phase I address any concerns related
to the concept of the Trade Exchange (TX). But it also has to provide functionality that can be used in the daily processing of cargo because not providing any type of functionality will lead to the same problem as providing technology that does not work.