Securing land tenure for the Bagyelis

29 March 2018
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In 2000, the World Bank approved the pipeline project between Chad and Cameroon. Its implementation however, had consequences on the lives of communities along the pipeline. Some of the environmental and social impacts which have continued since the construction phase, have led to the matter being referred to the advisor of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a branch of the World Bank Group involved in financing the private sector, which provided support to the project. Mediation has begun between the Cameroon Oil Transportation Company S.A. (COTCO), which is the company in charge of construction, operation and maintenance of the pipeline, and the communities affected by the activities, supported by the following NGOs, including CV4C project partner CED, as well as RELUFA, CARFAD, and FOCARFE.

In line with its objective to promote good governance of natural resources and the protection of the rights of local and indigenous communities, CED supports communities in this mediation process. The CED has made its mediation experts available to the communities involved. One of the complaints raised concerns the infringement of land belonging to the Bagyeli indigenous communities, in the Ocean Division. Mediation on this matter has resulted to a decision taken by COTCO and the FEDEC Foundation (put in place by the project to support indigenous Bagyelis and finance environmental compensation resulting from the project) to help the Bagyelis secure access to the land. Through analysis of the land tenure processes implemented, CED ensures that activities take into account the habits and customs of the Bagyeli communities, and above all, contribute to the improvement of their living conditions.

It is worth mentioning that communities affected by the project, including those who lost their land and crops, received both financial and in-kind compensations. Indigenous communities were excluded from these compensations because they did not have titles or customary land rights. The seriousness of their land situation calls for urgent action, and FEDEC has selected the NGO APED to lead the process.

Flora LAMERO
Communications Officer
Centre pour l’Environnement et le Développement (CED)