Protecting forests and the environment

Programme description
Title: Forestry and environmental programme in Cameroon
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Cameroon
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF); Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED)
Overall term: 2016 to 2019

Context

Cameroon still has abundant natural tropical forests. Traditionally, they are a vital resource for the livelihoods of local people and the country’s economy. Factors such as migration, population growth, an increasing demand for fuelwood, expanding agricultural activities and a lack of alternative sources of employment and income for the population pose a threat to the environmental, economic and social functions of Cameroon’s forest ecosystems. Illegal logging and poaching exacerbate the situation.

Although the country has adopted progressive forestry and conservation area policies, it has made little headway when it comes to implementing the associated strategies. This can be attributed to insufficient coordination between the ministries involved, inadequate performance of duties by institutions and authorities at decentralised level and a failure to involve the local population in decision-making processes.

Only a few practical examples are currently in place in Cameroon that can serve as models for sustainable forest and wildlife resource management. Furthermore, the national and local authorities lack the required management skills, technical expertise and an appropriate service mentality.

Objective

The Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife and the Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development and their subordinate service authorities carry out their mandate in coordination with other stakeholders such as civil society, local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and representatives of residents of protected areas.

Approach

The project supports sustainable and environmental management of forest resources in line with the principle of ‘conservation through utilisation’. GIZ and its partners provide advice to the partner ministries on developing and implementing strategies. The project is active in four regions (Centre, Far North, South-West and East) and at national level.

  • Models for the sustainable management of forests and protected areas
    The project supports its partners in developing models for the sustainable use of forest and protected areas. This includes valorisation (the economic use) of wood waste, the production and marketing of non-timber products (such as fruit and nuts), the co-management of protected areas and the maintaining of soil and forest quality following reforestation.
  • Improvements in service provision of subordinate state services  
    Training and advisory services strengthen the managerial skills and technical expertise within the ministries and their subordinate authorities. The project also supports the ministries in drafting legal texts and regulations.
  • Meeting commitments on the preservation and conservation of forests and biodiversity
    The project supports the implementation of international and regional agreements. This includes compliance with the requirements of FLEGT licensed timber (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade), the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (ARF100) and the national reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) strategy, which along with forest conservation also promotes the reforestation of degraded forest areas.

The consulting firm ECO Consult provides support on REDD+ issues and the valorisation of wood waste.

Results

The project has devised economically and socially appropriate solutions for long-term and sustainable forest conservation by applying the principle of ‘conservation through utilisation’.
Women have increased their income by marketing non-timber products. A key factor was the training of approximately 9,700 members from local associations in leadership and small entrepreneurship. The economic benefits have motivated women to become drivers of reforestation; they now plant tree species such as neem and tamarind.
Four communities have improved the management of their municipal forests. 
Consumption of fuelwood and charcoal has fallen and 173,000 households and micro-entrepreneurs in the Far North region now use energy-efficient stoves. 
The co-management of national parks in the South-West region has significantly improved the relationship between the authorities and local population. Residents of protected areas are now included in the decision-making processes and 96 per cent of the municipalities have entered into a user agreement with the park administration. The Ministry performs its role as a service provider and is accepted by the people.
The ministerial coordination and internal planning processes have become more efficient. At international level, Cameroon is committed to the national REDD+ process and has signed up to the ARF100 initiative with a view to restoring 12 million hectares of forest.
In addition, the project provided assistance to the National Forestry School to expand its range of courses to include practice-based modules. This improved the training of urgently needed national forestry and environmental experts.