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Independent CSOs To Check Forestry Exploitation 

By Lionel Tchoungui B & *Gloria Wirkom

Some Civil Society Organisations, CSO’s, working in the forestry sector have come together to form an independent external and normalized national observation system. 

This is to better monitor the activities of the forestry sector, promote transparent and participative management of natural resources, preserve biological diversity, ameliorate living and environmental conditions and address some of the pertinent problems affecting the sector.

This was one of the decisions arrived at in Yaounde recently during a gathering convened by Forests and Rural Development, known by its French acronym, FODER. According to members of the organisation, coming up with an independent national observation system would help stakeholders of the forestry sector to be able to have accurate results of the situation on the field and contribute to an easier implementation of the Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) on Forests Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade, FLEGT. 

Addressing the participants, the Program Manager for Natural Resources at FODER, Rodrigue Ngonzo, said the trade of illicit wood was becoming a serious problem and was affecting the image of Cameroon overseas. He posited that they had, in the previous months, set out to educate the local population and those involved in the illicit acts. 

“Those who continue logging with illegally acquired licenses are criminals. We are doing everything to meet up with the needs of the parties concerned to reinforce the law,” he added.

Pledging the support of the European Union, EU, to the initiative, the First Adviser to the Head of the Rural Development and Environment Unit at the European Union Delegation to Cameroon, Karl Rawert, said they are going to support the activities of the Civil Society in the fight against illicit logging in the country.  By so doing, they could be able to eliminate illegal wood in European markets and develop the wood sector in Cameroon. 

Hear him: “We are more than determined to work with CSOs in Cameroon. I am happy to hand over these projects to them because I know they are experienced. We shall be very attentive to get the results of the projects. They are very important to both Cameroon and the EU. We are a long lasting partner and we would support the accord in setting it up technically and financially in Cameroon. “

The coordinator for programmes at the Center for Environmental Development, CED, Teodyl Nkuintchua, lauded the initiative undertaken by FODER to promote good governance and the fight against corruption in the forestry sector. He lamented on the fact that, due to illegal deforestation, they found it difficult to give an account of where wood went to after it had been cut. 

“The absence of good governance and the increasing rate of corruption are issues which are at the root causes of illicit logging. It is my humble opinion that forest tenure and access rights must be secured in this sector. The measures arrived at in the course of this gathering would go a long way in eradicating poverty from the country,” he noted. 

The FODER, it must be recalled, works hand in glove with CSOs to develop tools for independent observation and advocates for a more just and discrimination-free society, putting natural resources at the service of long lasting development.

 

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