Protecting forests and the environment

Programme description

Title: Forest and Environment Project
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Cameroon
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (Ministère des Forêts et de la Faune, MINFOF); Ministry of the Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development (Ministère de l’Environnement, de la Protection de la Nature et du Développement Durable, MINEPDED)
Overall term: 2020 to 2022

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.

At the same time, value creation from non-timber forest products, timber and other forest resources in local communities has not yet reached its full potential. The level of appreciation of the economic, ecological and social functions of Cameroon’s forest ecosystems does not reflect their importance in providing a source of income for vulnerable groups and a livelihood for the rural population.

Objective

Local actors benefit sustainably from Cameroon’s environment and forest resources.

Approach

The project supports sustainable and ecological management of forest resources in line with the principle of ‘protection by utilisation’. To this end, the project and its partners advise the two ministries and representatives of municipalities, the private sector, initiatives and associations. The project selects its partners on the basis of project proposals submitted through ideas competitions and provides them with technical advice, capacity building services and material support.
 
The project is active in four regions (Centre, Far North, North and East) and at national level.

Promoting the sustainable use of forest resources and biodiversity in municipalities: In the regions, the project works with municipalities on sustainable forest management. The aim is to enable communities and their populations to use their forests profitably while at the same time conserving them, for example through improved forest inventories, reforestation and long-term management plans.

Developing value chains based on timber and non-timber forest products for the benefit of vulnerable local people: Technical advice and capacity development help to professionalise the actors in the various value chains. Value chains encompass all processes from production to distribution. The project supports women’s groups in particular through targeted further training. The courses cover topics such as processing non-timber forest products, opening up national markets, applying principles of entrepreneurship and using digital solutions. The value chains for timber and charcoal from legal, environmentally friendly sources are also developed.

Providing environmental education to increase levels of appreciation of natural resources, climate change mitigation and the environment: The project supports the Ministry of the Environment’s national awareness-raising programme by conducting education campaigns. The focus is on initiatives and associations that support the protection of forests, the climate and biodiversity as well as on digital information on environmentally relevant topics. The distribution of energy-efficient stoves is also accompanied by an awareness-raising campaign.

Improving general conditions for policy dialogue and valorisation of forest resources:
The project promotes a comprehensive legal and institutional framework for the sustainable use of forests and the environment. Taking a bottom-up approach, the aim is to ensure that initiatives, associations and local actors can contribute their experience and interests to the policy dialogue. In addition, the two ministries receive support in drafting and reviewing legal regulations.

Results

  • By applying the principle of ‘protection by utilisation’, the project has found economic and social solutions for long-term and environmentally sound forest conservation.
  • In the previous project phase, some 16,000 women in rural areas were able to increase their income by marketing non-timber forest products.
  • By distributing 173,000 energy-saving stoves and promoting charcoal made from sawmill waste, the project has helped reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 80,000 tonnes.
  • In the municipalities, better forest management has increased forest revenues by an average of 27.5 per cent.
  • The project also supported the development of numerous technical models and political strategies.
  • The current project phase builds on these experiences and expands many approaches. One focus is on implementing the strategy to restore twelve million hectares of degraded landscape. By contributing to environmental education and promoting digital solutions, the project will reach more young people.

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