From 16-18 March 2016, the 10th edition of the Forest Governance Forum took place in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Organised by the Centre for International Development and Training – CIDT of the University of Wolverhampton, UK, the forum took place under the centre’s ‘Congo Basin VPA ‘Implementation: Championing Forest People’s Rights and Participation’ project.
Inspired by the Chatham House Illegal logging meetings, the multi-stakeholder event brought together around 200 participants and regional and global speakers from not only the forestry sector, but also from government, civil society, trade and industry, the NGO community and the academic world to discuss the contemporary trends, debates and issues characterising the FLEGT process. A key purpose of the FGF was to draw out and share key lessons from the VPA process and FLEGT implementing countries and to emphasise FLEGT progress and achievements to date.
The three day event was broken down into six sessions covering issues of:
- FLEGT updates
- Transparency and corruption
- The role of monitoring in improving forest governance
- Tackling climate change
- FLEGT and certification
- Trade and inclusive engagement.
The opening ceremony, saw speeches given by Mrs. Koulsoumi Alhadji epsé Boukar, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Forest and Wildlife, the British High Commissioner to Cameroon, H.E. Brian Olley and the Ambassador of the European Union to Cameroon, H.E. Françoise Collet.
At the opening address, H.E. Brian Olley, British High Commissioner to Cameroon said “As we have heard from some of the speakers before me we now recognise that the secret to success in protecting forests is to engage with the ‘spirit’ of the forest and the ‘spirit’ of the people. It is for that I am so pleased to see so many indigenous people from forest communities participating in the conference.”
A key highlight on the first day was an interactive panel discussion, which saw a highly dynamic and heated discussion on the question ‘where does FLEGT go from here?’ The panel discussion gave the floor to the audience and allowed for some interesting points to be raised. One community leader stressed, how there was “much more work to be done at grassroots level to ensure inclusion of forest communities and that FLEGT was still an evolving concept and has a long way to go in tackling illegal timber.” Others emphasised the need to have more government and private sector involvement.
A second highlight of the forum was the working group sessions. This formed a critical part of the FGF and focused on six thematic areas: gender, academia, monitoring, proposal writing, tenure rights and benefit sharing. One of the key lessons shared from the gender working group is the need to mainstream and integrate gender into the VPA process and FLEGT policies. The moderator Cecile Ndjbet declared how “majority of forestry actors are women yet are ignored or marginalised in the policy frameworks.”
Find out more
At the Forest Governance Forum website you can listen to the presentations and download the slideshows, as well as see photos and videos from the event.
Photos from the event