IUCN's Pro-Poor REDD+ Project in Cameroon
Cameroon is situated in the north-western part of the Congo Basin and borders the Gulf of Guinea. 19 million hectares or 42% of the country’s surface is forested (FAO, 2011). Roughly half of Cameroon’s population lives in the rural zones and the country counts 60,000 indigenous or forest-dependent peoples. The deforestation rate over the last decade of the 20th century was an estimated 1% (FAO, 2011).
REDD+ in Cameroon
Cameroon is building a REDD+ national strategy in a process led by the Ministry of Environment and Protection of Nature (MINEP). Cameroon developed a Readiness Preparation Plan (R-PP), which was approved by the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility in January 2013.
The process of developing the R-PP involved the establishment of a REDD+ national committee as a multi-stakeholder REDD+ decision-making body. The government also requested NGO support in ensuring capacity building and broad participation of civil society, indigenous peoples and women.
The pro-poor project, together with a number of NGO partners is developing a strategy for active stakeholder involvement. After a national training workshop was organised an agenda was developed for further activities aimed at influencing the national REDD+ strategy. Many groups demand that their rights be respected but understanding of REDD+ is in many cases lacking behind.
The various interest groups should be consulted and involved in decision-making processes. Before a full range of REDD+ activities can be implemented, attention is needed for clear tenure rights and systems for benefit distribution. Contributions to the national process should also complement capacity gaps within the government, help coordinate technical and financial support and will hopefully accelerate the REDD+ process in the country.
The Pro-Poor Pilot in Cameroon
The pilot of the pro-poor project in Cameroon is situated in the Cameroon segment of the Tri National landscape. This is a forest landscape shared by Congo, the Central African Republic and Cameroon. The area that falls under Cameroon covers 22,073 km² of which 95% is covered by forests. The area supports 33,250 inhabitants with an indigenous population of 10,500 people from the Baka and Bantu communities. The major drivers of deforestation in this area are shifting cultivation, industrial logging, mining, and illegal logging. People have access to forest and land but no rights over trees. Tenure rights, especially of trees, are with the government.
Results of the Pro-poor Project in Cameroon
The Pro-Poor REDD+ project has been an active and influential contributor to the national REDD+ readiness process in Cameroon. The activities resulted in the following achievements reached in 2010:
- Technical and financial support was provided to the government-appointed National REDD Focal Point in dialogue with the World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). It led to the approval in December 2010 of the FCPF grant for the production of the Readiness Preparation Proposal and the structuring of the national REDD community
- Promotion of multi-stakeholder dialogue and the mobilisation of the involvement of stakeholders in the readiness process
- Contributions to improved knowledge and understanding of key pro-poor issues at the national decision making level
- The provision of support to the design and functioning of the National REDD+ Committee, the promotion of multi-stakeholder representation and awareness-raising activities on pro-poor REDD+ issues. Both contribute to the linking of the local and national levels.
In 2010 a sequential set of consultations was conducted at the landscape level with key national and local partners. The aim of this exercise was to build a model for consultation that can be used for the structuring of the national process.
The analysis aims to provide insights into what sort of impacts REDD+ can be expected to have on livelihoods. It includes dependency and vulnerability studies to assess the way in which communities depend on various land uses. These are defined according to Cameroon’s forest laws. The field analyses will generate recommendations for better inclusion of vulnerable groups such as indigenous peoples and women as part of pro-poor strategies.