The Forest Trade sub-programme for TRAFFIC Central Africa (TCAF) was launched on 1st February 2009 with the recruitment of a permanent consultant, Dr Nouhou Ndam. The following month, TRAFFIC’s Global Forest Trade Programme Leader, Chen Hin Keong, visited TCAF’s office in Yaoundé, Cameroon, to assist TCAF staff with fostering their relationship with national and regional partners based in Cameroon and to review and develop the forest trade sub-programme in Central Africa. Chen and TCAF staff met representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and foreign donor communities, including the Executive Secretary of COMIFAC (Commission des Forêts d'Afrique Centrale), Heads of different programmes of GTZ, WWF CARPO, and IUCN PACO.
In Cameroon, key partners include the Secretary General of the Ministry of Forest and Wildlife (MINFOF) and the Ministry of Environment and Protection of Nature (MINEP), authorities of the customs department, representatives of CITES Scientific and Management Authorities (ANAFOR and Forestry Department respectively), and local NGOs. Their expectations included market information sharing, capacity building especially on CITES-related issues, networking for regional collaboration with professional colleagues, integrated/consulted planning, connecting national laws to internal policy, monitoring of legality in the forestry sector, especially connecting Customs data from export countries to those in import countries, collaborative actions on common activities, and fostering a relationship with TRAFFIC. This has led to several ideas for joint proposals to raise funds to meet these needs.
Over the next three months the TCAF Forest Trade sub-programme will focus on exploring ways of developing these partnerships and funding collaboration opportunities to implement the Central African forest trade programme. This is likely to include collaboration with IUCN PACO to develop proposals to strengthen Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue (MSD) and the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) and, in collaboration with WWF CARPO, the promotion of the validation, adoption and implementation of PCIs (principles, criteria & indicators) and tracking legality in the forestry sector within Congo Basin countries through systems developed by TRAFFIC for WWF’s Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN).
With the development of TCAF’s forest trade programme, TRAFFIC is now in a strong position to assist governments and other partners to ensure that trade in timber and non-timber forest products is not detrimental to the survival of forests in the region. TRAFFIC looks forward to working with the various partners in implementing this programme.