10th Forest Governance Forum, Cameroon 2016

This 10th Forest Governance Forum took place from 16-18 March 2016 at Hotel La Falaise, Yaoundé, Cameroon.


This Forest Governance Forum was held as part of the ‘Congo Basin VPA Implementation – Championing Forest Peoples’ Rights and Participation Project (EU-CFPR) project. The EU-CFPR project was supported by the European Union and DFID and was implemented in the Central African Republic (CAR) and Cameroon.

The Cameroon Regional Forest Governance Forum was also delivered with the generous support of a number of organisations and initiatives. These included the EU FAO FLEGT Programme, the DFID funded FLEGT-VPA support programme, the Forest Stewardship Council, the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR Regional Office, Cameroon) and the Cameroon Ministry of Forests and Wildlife. The Cameroon Regional FGF was the first in which the FSC was officially involved.

The aim of the Cameroon Regional FGF was to contribute to the wider aims of the EU-CFPR project through experience sharing and raising awareness, and the profile of FLEGT-VPA process. The specific objective of the Cameroon Regional FGF was to provide a free, deliberative and open space for the exchange of information, experiences, lessons, ideas and up to date research around Forest Governance, FLEGT-VPAs and other initiatives seeking to improve forest governance and combat illegal logging.

Key documents

Mathieu Auger-Schwarzenberg from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) speaks about various aspects of the Forest Governance Forum.

Prof Philip Dearden speaks about the importance of the Forest Governance Forum.

Opening Ceremony

The Cameroon Regional Forest Governance Forum was officially opened by the Cameroon Secretary of State Ministery of Forests and Wildlife, Mme Koulsoumi Alhaji. Other dignitaries that officiated during the opening ceremony included Her Excellency Francois Collet (Head of the EU Delegation in Cameroon), His Excellency Brian Olley (British High Commissioner), Professor Philip Dearden (Director of CIDT), Mr Valere Akpakoua (representing indigenous communities), and Martin Tadoum (representative of COMIFAC).

Listen to the opening ceremony/Écoutez la cérémonie d’ouverture:


First Session: FLEGT Progress, Achievements and Action Plan

This session focussed on providing an update on the FLEGT process and achievements at both the global and Congo Basin region level. The presentations were delivered by four key speakers, reflecting on the achievements and progress made by FLEGT-VPA processes to date. These were:

  • Stéphane Sourdin, EU Delegation, Cameroon: Update on FLEGT-VPA processes globally.
  • Bekollo Ferdinand, MINFOF, Cameroon: Cameroon VPA update.
  • Jean Soh Ndeh, Prosygma: Support for the establishment of a traceability system for ONAB wood in Benin.
  • David Ouangando, DGl des Eaux et Forêts, RCA: Central African Republic – State of the forest sector.

Listen to session 1/Écoutez la session 1:


Second Session: Transparency and Corruption in the Forest Sector

This session explored issues of transparency and corruption with a focus on civil society activities and issues regarding

access to information. Key speakers include:

  • Martin Mbongo, FLEGT Focal Point, MINFOF: Progress with Annex VII of the Cameroon VPA.
  • Samuel Mawutor, Civic Response and Forest Watch Ghana: Progress with addressing transparency in Ghana.
  • Anouska, Perram, Forest Peoples Programme: Community access to information: some examples in practice within Cameroon’s VPA process.
  • Rodrigue Ngonzo, FODER: Development of the REDD+ Transparency

Listen to session 2/Écoutez la session 2:


Third Session: The Role of Independent Forest Monitoring (IFM) in Improving Forest Governance

This session involved speakers presenting cases of IFM, examining the actors involved and the end results. Key speakers included:

  • Essylot Lubala, OGF, DRC: FLEGT Mandated Independent Observation. Role, achievements and lessons, Example from the DRC.
  • Roland P. Harris, Liberia CS-IFM Monitors: Civil Society led Independent Monitoring. Role, achievements and lessons. Example from Liberia.
  • Hervé Joël MOUNPEN, FODER and Ghislain FOMOU, SAILD: Standardised External Independent Monitoring System.
  • Duclaire Mbouna, WRI: Congo Basin forest atlas platforms: a contribution to forest resources governance.

Listen to session 3/Écoutez la session 3:

Fourth Session: Low Carbon Development and Tackling Climate Change

This session discussed the issues around forest usage, synergies between REDD+ initiatives (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and FLEGT and their contribution to achieve sustainable and climate friendly development goals. Key speakers included:

  • Anne Marie Tiani, CIFOR: Synergy between adaptation and mitigation and forest management in the Congo basin: Some lessons from COBAM project.
  • Richard Sufo, CIFOR: Implementation of REDD+ at the local scale: Challenges of inclusive MRV at the pilot project level in Cameroon, DRC and Rwanda.
  • Philippe Guizol, CIRAD: After Paris: some realties and challenges to move ahead with INDCs in Central Africa.
  • Gervais Ludovic Itsou Madzous, COMIFAC: COP21 and commitments for the Congo Basin.

Listen to session 4/Écoutez la session 4:

Fifth Session: Exploring Synergies between FLEGT and Certification

This session of the Forum aimed to debate how the synergy between existing certification and future licences can be exploited in order to guarantee the credibility of the FLEGT system. Key speakers included:

  • Romain Lorent, PPECF: The role of certification in improving forest governance and sustainable forest management.
  • Mathieu Auger-Schwartzenberg, FSC, Congo Basin: What are the opportunities for FLEGT and certification synergies?
  • Belinga Solomon, MINFOF, Cameroon: Lessons from the pilot project on synergies between FLEGT and certification.

Listen to session 5/Écoutez la session 5:

Sixth Session: Market and Trade

This session concentrated essentially on the analysis of the role of the informal domestic market. Speakers included:

  • M. Norbett Sonne, GFTN, WWF Cameroon: Study by WWF on the mapping of Chinese investments in the forestry sector in Cameroon (2015).
  • Richard Eba’a Atyi, CIFOR presented two case studies of informal timber transactions between Cameroon, CAR (VPA) and Chad (non-VPA) and Cameroon and Nigeria (non VPA).
  • Mr. Akagou Zedon Henri Charles, MINFOF, Cameroon: The impact of illegal domestic markets.
  • Germane Yene: Update on the Global Timber Forum.

Listen to session 6/Écoutez la session 6:

Seventh Session: Inclusive Engagement

This session attempted to address the issue of inclusive engagement in the FLEGT process by describing the attitudes, concerns and challenges of parliamentarians, NGOs and indigenous peoples who have been directly or indirectly involved in FLEGT, REDD+ and general forest governance issues. Speakers included:

  • Jean Jacques Mathamale, from CIEDD Central African Republic: How FLEGT’s making a difference – lessons from multi-stakeholder collaboration to influence constitutional reform in CAR.
  • Honorable Zam, Réseau des Parlementaires, Cameroon: The role of parliamentarians in promoting good forest governance.
  • Indra van Gisbergen, Fern: The role of coalitions and CSO platforms in forest governance initiatives.
  • Felicia Kengoum, CIFOR: Structures of power, climate change mitigation and forest management in the Congo basin.
  • Mr Valere Akpakoua (representing indigenous communities): Indigenous Peoples participation in VPA implementation.

Listen to session 7/Écoutez la session 7:

Working Group Sessions

During the second and third day of the Forest Governance Forum participants had the opportunity to further discuss some aspects of the FLEGT implementation already touched upon in the plenary session and to analyse some critical issues which are often marginalised in the forest governance debate. The working groups were divided into six thematic areas. Highlights and recommendations of five of these are detailed in the full FGF report. The sixth session was a Proposal Writing workshop.

  • Forest Governance in Gender
  • Forest Governance in Academic Curriculum
  • Independent Forest Monitoring
  • Tenure & Rights
  • Benefit Sharing & Participation
  • Writing and Winning Proposals

Closing remarks

Through the forest governance forum, one cross cutting recommendation has been the need to continue to strengthen the contribution of non-state actors (NSA) – civil society organisations (CSOs), Indigenous Peoples (IP) and local communities – to improving forest governance and sustainable forest management (SFM) in the Congo Basin and beyond particularly through monitoring forest governance and forest land use change, informing relevant processes particularly FLEGT and REDD+, and contributing to effective responses from law enforcement and policy making agencies. Additionally to engage private sector and the domestic market actors in national processes that directly affect their actions and the livelihoods of those who depend on forests. The University of Wolverhampton remains committed to support the achievement of these objectives.

Listen to the closing remarks/Écoutez les remarques de clôture:

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