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Supporting the Global Legal Information Network in Gabon
The Central African forest ecosystem contains remarkable biological diversity that the heads of States of the Central African region would like to preserve. Together they adopted a treaty instituting the Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC) in February 2005. Illegal logging and lack of appropriate forest governance are major obstacles to the efforts of the concerned countries to alleviate poverty, develop their natural resources, and protect global and local environmental services and values.
In order to coordinate cross-border solutions (by having a monitoring and evaluation system, organizing investments and tax policies, and harmonizing the legal systems of COMIFAC member countries), all countries need to have access to each others' forest and wildlife rules and regulations.
Unfortunately, the legal texts are difficult to access and the institutions responsible for the publication of the laws do not benefit from a modern archiving system, even less a sustainable electronic one.
In response to this need, the World Bank's EU-funded FLEG program (now part of PROFOR) supported the creation of electronic legal databases in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Gabon, using the Global Legal Information Network (GLIN). GLIN is an independent cooperative network that maintains a free and credible online legal database stored in national servers and the central server at the US Library of Congress.
In Gabon, efforts to create a functional GLIN Station meant selecting, organizing and training a team to collect and submit laws, one by one, in the system and at the same time create a local electronic archiving system containing all the official gazettes available in a challenging environment. (Most of the archives are stockpiled in a room at the mercy of rats and dampness.) Each law requires an abstract in English and French according to GLIN norms and keywords for easy research.
- As of June 2010, GLIN Gabon offered 982 legal and regulatory texts online.
- The network's team is ready to continue working even if it regularly comes up against many obstacles.
- Legal materials from GLIN Gabon have been viewed more than 27,000 times over the course of the year. This high level of interest was achieved without any type of information campaign.
- A unique local database containing all available official gazettes in electronic format will be completed during the next years.
- Access to laws and information does not guarantee good governance but contributes to it and strengthens the modernization of the state. GLIN could become a decisive step that triggers the creation of a real e-government.
- This activity was directly linked to a World Bank project dealing with reforms in the sectors of forestry, mining and fisheries. Transparency, supported by the GLIN instrument, is one of the pillars of reform in these different sectors.
- More and more countries are becoming members of the GLIN initiative: four out of six Congo basin countries are now members.
Last Updated : 02-24-2017