Details

  • Service: Advisory
  • Type: KPMG information
  • Date: 12/18/2013

Indigenous people gain greater voice and control over forest resources  

In Cameroon more inclusive practices and policies that recognise traditional forest use by Baka and other indigenous peoples has benefitted at least 8,450 people through four separate initiatives. This has led to more explicit recognition of minority groups in policy processes and national park and forest management.

 

In one initiative related to community forestry, more representative and inclusive community forest governance has led to better management of the funds generated in community forestry.

 

In total the four initiatives will benefit 118,000 forest‐dependent people living in ten locations spread across three provinces in Cameroon.

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Key elements of context

 

  • Cameroon contains more than 200 ethnic groups, including forest peoples, who have traditionally been marginalized in terms of access to decision-making and forest governance. Semi-nomadic huntergatherers have historically had no legal rights to the forest lands they call home and rely on for food, medicine and wood. According to Patrice Kamkuimo, project leader for Making the Forest Sector Transparent in Cameroon “The forest provides the entire basis for the indigenous pygmy people’s existence, including the houses they build and the foods, water and medicines they need. It is also the home of their ancestors – vital spiritual sites in their world view”. ·
  • They are routinely left out of the decisions which have seen their forests opened up for industrial logging and other commercial activity, and see very little of the financial windfall. For example, Baka communities in the Boumba Bek and Nki National Parks in South East Cameroon were excluded from the discussions to create the protected areas in 2005, with the result that all human activity was banned within the park boundaries.
  • Similarly, the Government of Cameroon’s 2009 action plan for Pygmy peoples under the Forest and Environment Sector Programme, initially failed to engage with the very population it was targeting.
  • Sometimes even in community forests, self-appointed local leaders have handed out permits to logging companies without due regard to the sustainable level of extraction, or the wishes of the wider community. 
  • Indigenous, or ‘autochthonous’2 people are doubly‐disadvantaged if neither the central forest authority nor the local municipal or community forest leadership recognise their human rights to live in their ancestral forest.