Achieving customary-statutory rights compromise in Cameroon's forest & wildlife policies: the urgent need for the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife to re-define its relationship with indigenous community organizations - ICOs uri icon


  • The 1990 laws on associations and political plurali sm in Cameroon set in motion processes that would inadvertently but severely eclipse indigenous community organizations. Their influence would become reduced, diminishing what local govern ance value they still possessed after colonial rule. Understandably insensitive to this local muta tion given its global contexts, subsequent thinking in the forestry sector after the 1994 fore st and wildlife laws were to become focussed on timber concessions, protected areas, non traditiona l civil society and donor prerogatives. Indigenous community organizations despite being au thentic repositories of critical know-how in maintaining forest health and justifying sustainabi lity became free pickings for politicians, the new civil society and business. With widely acknowledged setbacks and challenges fa ced by policy approaches in the area of benefits sharing, forest law enforcement and govern ance, there is now need to fully consider incorporating indigenous community organizations an d their knowledge systems as both a useful resource in forest management and a low-cost, direc t mechanism to achieve law enforcement, benefits sharing and local economic development. There is need therefore within the current forest p olicy review process to capitalize on reawakening indigenous community organizations and networks in order that reforms can be better informed of local problems and opportunities ; and will benefit in the long-term from collaborative relationships to facilitate consultat ions, negotiations and forest management

publication date

  • 2009