Cameroon

Summary of EA programme

The Cameroon programme has its key focus on improving the governance aspect of the extractive industries sector in particular in & around protected areas. To a lesser extend it focusses on the governance aspects of the biofuel plantation industry. Wetland conservation is another cross cutting issue.

2015 general objective:  Improved ecological sustainability and improved financial benefits for local communities and society from resource exploitation. A number of strong NGO actors sufficiently equipped to provide input to governmental policies and practices directly related to resource use and to act as independent observer on corporate legal compliance for those sectors directly impacting / depending on the natural environment.

The program will reinforce civil society’s capacity to complement the government’s intentions and efforts to provide solutions to some of the challenges on the environment-development nexus. Specifically it will enhance the impact of the RRI coalition (Rights and Resources), formed of international and national NGOs and networks, and focusing on the promotion of communities’ rights in logging, the extractive sector, and land management.  Legal lobby & advocacy and independent monitoring form a key component of the program.

WHO - Key national NGO players& thematic focus:

  • CED / OPFCR  - Extractive Industries best practices & legal compliance monitoring,
  • ACEEN – integrated governance of the Waza Logone floodplain
  • CWCS  - integrated wetland management & protection
  • GVC - national energy policy with emphasis on rural energy policy / bio-fuel framework law
  • ACAMEE - Strategic and Project Environmental Impact Assessment

WHERE - Key geographic focus:

  • Province Extreme Nord Waza Logone Floodplain,
  • Southern Mangrove belt + the Haut Nyong wetlands
  • Province East Camiron mining concession  / TRIDOM area,
  • Central Level Government

WHAT

Theme Livelihoods and ecosystems: The purpose within the Cameroon program is to: a) Improve resource governance / ecosystem management / bio-diversity conservation, leading to improved livelihoods and human well-being, b) Reduce long-term negative impact of rural energy supply on ecosystem services & livelihoods, c) Enhance (financial)transparency & synergy with the various donor efforts in the Waza Logone Floodplain, d) Enhance civil societies' role in sound land-use (planning) and resource extraction (ecologically sustainable & socially equitable), e) enhance knowledge on valuation and increased benefits of wetlands Strategic partners include: ACEEN, CWCS

Theme  Greening the economy: The purpose is to: a) enhance CSO expertise on environmental assessments, legal compliance and transparency related to the extractive industries in order to provide meaningful input to mining and forest law revisions, b) enhance legal compliance and sustainability of upcoming extractive industry and improve transparency in benefit sharing mechanisms, c) enhance sustainability of upcoming bio-fuel plantations and assure meaningful CSO input for the bio-fuel framework law.  Strategic partners include: CED,  OPFCR, GVC, SEEAC.

 

NGO partners and key focus:

ACAMEE - Enhancement of Effective implementation of Environmental Assesment Tools (SEA and EIA). Independent advice on EIAs and SEAs.

ACEEN – Extreme Nord  Province: – Sahelian setting.The Logone Flood Plain (LFP) covers about 10.000.000 ha within the Lake Chad Basin. ACEEN will continue to contribute to; a) finding solutions to ecosystem conservation problems within the floodplain of the LFP, b) improved resource governance and c) governance and coherence of the various international donor programmes in the area. Further ACEEN will try to limit the negative impact of the initiating oil exploration / exploitation in the floodplain.

CED : Mining governance. Focus on the high rainforest area S and SE province between the Dja and the coastal Campo Ma’an reserves. Specific focus on the legal aspects of the booming mining industry in country. Particular attention to the mega infra-structural developments around the CAMIRON mining operation.

CWCS: Wetland governance in the SE province and along the coastline. Mobilization of  civil society and community based organizations towards effective governance for protection and sustainable management of coastal and Upper Nyong wetlands ecosystems. CWCS facilitates the development of national wetlands policy/legislation processes for Cameroon.

GVC: Strict focus on the rural and renewable energy politics in Cameroon specifically including bio-fuel developments and the bio-fuel framework law. Focus on civil society effective input into the regulatory frameworks related to the renewable energy politics. Clear link with the bio-fuel development concerns of the IUCN Cameroon office.

IUCN Cameroon office: Synergy enhancement & policy linking

OPFCR: High rainforest in the SE province around S of the Dja Reserve (UNESCO MAB). Community organization and agri-cultural production organization around the CAMIRON mining developments. The community organization aspects focuses on “communities’ readiness regarding the current and future mega-infrastructural developments around the mining site”.

 

Main background facts to the EA interventions

Cameroon ranks 153 (out of 182) on the Human Development Index and has a high level of social inequality (Gini value 45). After many decades of one party rule, the country adopted legislation in 1990 to authorize the formation of multiple political parties and ease restrictions on forming civil associations and private newspapers. Each of the national multiparty elections so far has been marred by severe irregularities. The government recently launched an ambitious long term development plan called (Vision 2035) and the Strategy document for Growth and Employment that includes a 10 year multi-sectoral planning. Cameroon is facing a host of challenges including bad governance, endemic corruption, growing unemployment and severe degradation of ecosystem services in the north. Cameroon ranks 146th on Transparency International’s ranking of efforts by 180 countries to combat corruption. In the early 1980s Cameroon was one of Africa's economic success stories. However, large scale exploitation of natural resources created a strong divide between a rich and corrupt elite and a majority of poor smallholders. The exploitation via forest and mining concessions and plantations limited the access of the majority of the population to the resources and led to its marginalization. Community rights are consistently weakly defined. Sharp declines in the commodities prices from the seventies led to a 60 % decline in the external terms of trade, resulting in prolonged economic stagnation. Economic growth is barely keeping pace with the annual rise in the population. Relevant thematic developments: Under pressure of foreign donors Cameroon participated in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) process dealing with transparency of revenues from mining sources. Reform of the forest sector got particular attention, but nevertheless the negotiated community forestry has a slow development and is corrupted by local elites. The administration of Cameroon is characterized by a typical fragmentation of authorities, where exploitation is separated from resource management or community interests. Cameroon has an enormous hydroelectric potential and new dams are under construction. Most villages however have no access to electricity. Eighty percent of the population of Cameroon relies on fuel wood as their only source of energy. Cameroon has several globally important mineral deposits and major investments and infrastructural developments are currently ongoing (i.e. uranium and major nickel-cobalt and iron ore deposits). A national land use planning exercise launched in 2010 is meant to harmonize the planning of all line ministries forming part of this development drive. In the forest sector FSC certification is on the increase.

Geographical and thematic focus areas

Key geographic focus: Province Extreme Nord Waza Logone Floodplain, Southern Mangrove belt + the Haut Nyong wetlands Province East Camiron mining concession / TRIDOM area, Central Level Government
Natural Resource Governance
Oil and mining
Legal Environmental Compliance