The development of community forests is gaining momentum in Central Africa. They can help secure customary tenure, sustainably manage resources and improve livelihoods for indigenous peoples and local communities.
In the absence of a land tenure system establishing clear collective ownership rights, community forestry now appears to be the most efficient option to secure customary land tenure in Congo. However, despite the opportunities that community forestry offers for IPLCs to secure customary land rights and improve their livelihoods, a number or constraints and challenges persist in relation to land tenure insecurity and overlapping.
The overall aim of this note is to gather perceptions held by local and indigenous communities currently managing, or setting up, community forests in Cameroon.
These Briefs were prepared for rural community leaders in Kenya. The major and longer document (Brief 3), identifies legal support and constraints for community land security in Kenya. This is prefaced by overviews of the situation globally (Brief 1), and in Africa (Brief 2).
For a long time, it has been thought that the protection of community rights and the conservation of nature were two contradictory goals. However, both visions are perfectly reconcilable.
In November 2017, FPP and local partner ODDHC organised a community-based monitoring workshop, bringing together partner organisations and indigenous community members from 7 African countries. The participants shared their experiences, trained, and learned from each other as well as from professional trainers.
This brief study has been produced by the partners of the CoNGOs consortium to share our different knowledge and experience, and to set out a joint understanding of the current state of play in relation to community forestry in Cameroon.
In the first half of 2017, Forest Peoples Programme completed an internal rapid scoping of core lessons learnt by forest peoples and their allies in efforts to achieve sustainable livelihoods and self-determined development.
Since the 1960s, the Sengwer peoples of western Kenya have been experiencing forced evictions from their home in the name of conservation. Since 2014, these evictions have intensified.
In 2010, Cameroon and the European Union signed a Voluntary Partnership Agreement on forest law enforcement, governance and trade in timber and derived products. One apparently positive element highlighted by the European Union and civil society organisations has been the inclusion of a 'transparency annex' in the document, which aimed to "make information available for public scrutiny to improve transparency and accountability".
While focusing in particular on the German financing of rainforest protection in Cameroon, this report also covers the broader issue of how Cameroon’s forest policies are shaped by the REDD process. It takes a case study approach, examining the way such forest protection policies impact on local communities by focusing in on the specific example of those communities whose land has been overlaid by the Takamanda National Park.
The UN General Assembly during its 69th session, on 22-23 September this year, will convene a high-level plenary meeting - the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples – to review the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) since its adoption in 2007, and to identify outstanding issues and actions pertaining to indigenous peoples and development.
What are the prospects for securing the land rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, and women in the foreseeable future?
Significantly, the report of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, under Goal 1 to “End Poverty”, sets a target to “Increase by x% the share of women and men, communities, and businesses with secure rights to land, property, and other assets”.
Mutual recognition, mutual respect and mutual benefit are among the desirable attributes of all human relationships. Indigenous peoples and other forest peoples also expect these qualities in their relationships with others – be they governments, private corporations, NGOs or other indigenous peoples’ organisations and communities. This issue of Forest Peoples Programme’s E-Newsletter reports on the state of various relationships between forest peoples and different institutions – as these are forged, tested or broken –in the course of assertions for upholding basic human rights, social justice and solidarity.
Whenever someone remarks that a solution is being frustrated by ‘lack of political will’, I automatically ask myself: whose is the political will and what are the interests pushing for the opposite?
The importance of ensuring respect for the rights of forest peoples’ to control their forests, lands and livelihoods, becomes ever clearer and yet more contested. As the articles in this edition of our newsletter starkly reveal, land and resource grabs are not just being imposed by commercial developers but are being actively promoted by governments, whose principle responsibility should be to protect the rights of citizens. Yet these same impositions are also being resisted, sometimes at great personal cost, by local communities and indigenous peoples.
IWGIA, Plan Finland and Plan Cameroon have published a report about the indigenous Baka living in Cameroon entitled What Future for the Baka? Indigenous Peoples' Rights and Livelihood Opportunities in south-east Cameroon. The report looks at the human rights situation of the indigenous hunter / gatherers of south-east Cameroon and their livelihood opportunities.