In recent years, the Government of Cameroon has negotiated access agreements (memoranda of understanding, MoUs) with Baka communities affected by a number of protected areas. These agreements seek to ensure that indigenous communities maintain or regain access to their lands and resources within protected areas for the purposes of their traditional activities and customary sustainable use.
This report analyses the effectiveness in practice of MoUs in improving indigenous communities’ access to their lands and resources, through two case studies. The case studies assess two MoU processes covering four protected areas in South and East Cameroon: the Ngoyla Wildlife Reserve, and the Lobeke, Boumba Bek and Nki National Parks.
The report concludes that significant efforts are required in order to remedy the continuing human rights violations suffered by indigenous communities affected by Cameroon’s protected areas, and provides recommendations for both state and conservation actors, to ensure that human rights are respected, and that conservation efforts are as effective as possible.
We note that since research for this report was conducted, various activities have been conducted by WWF and other actors with Baka communities in the Lobeke area, to increase awareness of the MoU and its contents. We welcome this development, and the ongoing efforts being made to address some of the issues highlighted in this report.