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Forestry and wildlife bill: Civil society presents its contributions to parliamentarians

A meeting between parliamentarians and civil society was held on June 26, 2024 at the Deputy Hotel in Yaounde.

To improve forest management and ensure that the rights and interests of local communities and indigenous peoples are properly taken into account, civil society put forward proposals to improve draft law N° 2058/PJL/AN on Cameroon’s forest and wildlife regime on June 26, 2024. The meeting was attended by some twenty members of parliament from the Network of Parliamentarians for the Sustainable Management of Central African Forest Ecosystems (REPAR).
Civil organizations represented by Support Service for Local Development Initiatives (SAILD), Green Development Advocates (GDA) and Circle of Reflection and Action for Development (CERAD) presented their proposals for improving the bill. During the workshop, Ghislain Fomou, Patrice Bigombe Logo and Alain Mfoulou reviewed the progress and shortcomings observed in the texts of this regulation.

“There are important innovations in the way forests are managed today, but there are provisions in the law that still need to be improved. I’ve been involved in implementing some of the proposals put forward; they have important political implications. For example, the law states that when a communal forest is allocated, this gives the right to establish a land title automatically, and this principle is not recognized for communities. We therefore propose that when a protected area is allocated to a village community, it should be able to establish a land title to the space allocated to it”, says Patrice Bigombe Logo, Director of CERAD.

Forest inventory before any concession

Civil society players also point to the shortcomings of forest management.
“According to Ghislain Fomou, Program Director at SAILD, “the fact that the State allocates the forest to a logger, and that it is the logger who manages the forest, makes inventories and declares its potential, is a weakness. “This shortcoming could be remedied if the State managed the forests before conceding them to private operators. In other words, the State already knows the potential of what’s in the forest before taking any steps. This task could be entrusted to a public establishment such as the National Forestry Development Support Agency (ANAFOR)“, he suggested.
At the end of the consultation, the majority of the deputies and senators invited were receptive to the proposals made to readjust the bill. In so doing, they demonstrated their commitment to defending and integrating the contributions made in the final version of the law.

These proposals are the result of a meeting held on June 24, 2024, between a dozen civil society organizations.
These working sessions followed the submission to the Parliament of the National Assembly in early June 2024, of registered bill N° 2058/PJL/AN, aimed at updating law N° 94/01 of January 20, 1994 governing forests, wildlife and fisheries, by the Presidency of the Republic of Cameroon. The meetings enabled parliamentarians to gain a better understanding of the bill, so as to enable Cameroon to meet current challenges in terms of sustainable management of forest resources and protection of the rights of communities living near forest areas.

machesharon1@gmail.com

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