“In Cameroon, illegal logging is estimated at 33% of overall log production, while the annual financial loss is estimated at around 33 billion CFA francs [around 4 million GBP], excluding biodiversity losses”, says Ghislain Fomou, an expert in Natural Resources Management in Cameroon and the lead author of the policy brief.
“In this climate, where Cameroon has subscribed to various international and regional instruments and is implementing various public and private initiatives to fight against illegal logging and wildlife trade, namely FLEGT-VPAs, CITES, ECOFAC, Independent Monitoring etc., there are questions on the effectiveness of all these initiatives on the ground.”
In this context, a study has been jointly co-commissioned by CIDT, under the Forest Governance, Markets and Climate (FGMC) Programme, funded by FCDO and the project ‘Strengthening Forest and Wildlife Law Enforcement in Central Africa’ (RALFF), funded by the European Union and implemented by Conservation Justice (CJ). “The objective of this study is to assess the operational constraints faced by the mechanisms to fight against illegal logging. This study was specifically aimed at monitoring and identifying illegal forest and wildlife related practices, analysing the extent to which operational monitoring systems address illegal practices and propose solutions to strengthen the systems in place”, says Dr Aurelian Mbzibain, Team Leader of Climate, Forests, Agriculture and Wildlife at the Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT).
“This policy brief is based on an extensive field study”, says Fomou, “which covered the Lom and Djerem and the Upper-Nyong divisions in the eastern region, as well as the of Dja and Lobo division of the southern region in Cameroon”. The study has also involved interviews with key stakeholders in the fields of fighting wildlife and forestry crimes, including government officials, representatives of the civil society and members of the local forestry communities.