Cameroon boasts a huge variety of flora and fauna, spread over about 20 million hectares of tropical rainforest. About four million people live in and around these forests, including a large percentage of indigenous people such as the Baka and Bagyeli. The forest is part of the second largest rainforest in the world, through which the great Congo River flows. It plays a key role in combating dangerous climate change.
But the forests in Cameroon are under severe threat. Investments in logging, industrial agriculture and mining are increasing as well as deforestation. By 2020, Cameroon lost 100,000one hundred thousand hectares of rainforest. Land rights of indigenous and local communities are not formally recognized. Land grabbing and other human rights violations by large corporations in the timber or agriculture sectors are commonplace. Forest activists who stand up for these rights are subject to intimidation, threats or violence.
Over the past five years we have put a halt to new plantations and logging permits. For example, the Ebo forest was protected from logging, saving 130 hectares of rainforest. In the coming years, Cameroon’s GLA program aims to increase and strengthen the influence and rights of indigenous peoples and local communities. We advocate for a methodology to represent them in corporate and political processes that deal with land and natural resources. The base is proper monitoring by local forest-, and human rights activists to document violations. On top of this, we will continue to campaign nationally and internationally for greater recognition and protection for indigenous and local people, and engage in resistance or use grievance procedures for redress in cases of (human) rights violations and deforestation.
The Cameroon program is implemented by Le Centre pour l’Environnement et le Développement - Friends of the Earth Cameroon.