After 30 months of successful delivery of the Congo Basin VPA Implementation – Championing Forest Peoples Rights and Participation project in Cameroon and Central African Republic, the Centre for International Development and its project execution partners, organised a one day event at Hotel La Falaise in Yaoundé, Cameroon on the 23 June 2016 to mark the official completion of the action.
The project closing event was an opportunity for project partners to share the experiences, successes of the action and strategies developed to ensure sustainability of the project. Opening the project closing ceremony, the British High Commissioner to Cameroon H.E Brian Olley and the Vice Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton, Prof Geoff Layer both emphasised the role of forests to the wellbeing of forest dependent peoples in the Congo Basin and the place of the university in bringing about social, economic and cultural transformation in the two project countries.
Following the opening ceremony, project partners took turns to present project results, key achievements, challenges and actions undertaken to ensure the sustainability of the action. Overall, despite the social and political crisis in CAR which affected the start of the action in 2014, all the presentations showed that the project had been successful so far in making progress towards reaching its overall objective. In regards to the capacity building of CSOs, the project has had a positive impact on the level and quality of participating organizations. Overall, through civil society platforms there has been a considerable strengthening of civil society capacities. The level and quality of participation in the national VPA follow up committee has improved and been welcomed by most of the partners as well as beneficiaries.
As for the pooling of experience gained at the regional level, the project coordination has facilitated a series of follow up meetings between beneficiaries which have been very beneficial and have served to establish forms of collaboration between organizations for the implementation of activities, and especially an exchange between Cameroon and the CAR. Presentations were followed by a plenary session which provided the opportunity for more than 70 participants from private sector, government, indigenous peoples’ organisations, civil society organisations, traditional leaders and donors to engage with partners and share experiences and proposals for the future. Participants appreciated the improved role of civil society in monitoring forest governance, regional experience sharing and the improvements in academic curriculum introduced by the project. The project Manager Dr Aurelian Mbzibain, thanked all participants, partners, the European Union and the UK government through DFID for financial support towards the delivery of this action. The event ended with a family picture and a diner.
The following documentary video (in French) was played at this event and shows the project partners talking about the key achievements and activities.