Cameroon REDD Community Consultations and Civil Society Workshop


7 July 2010

Cameroon REDD Community Consultations and Civil Society Workshop

Baka, Bagyeli and Bakola forest people – together with their local support NGOs – have been conducting consultations in southern Cameroon to inform their communities about potential REDD projects. The Government of Cameroon is seeking funding from the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) to establish these projects which are intended to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD).

A civil society workshop, held in Yaounde on June 30th 2010, brought together a range of civil society organisations and indigenous peoples to reflect on the consultations and prepare recommendations for a subsequent meeting with representatives of relevant Government Ministries on 1st July 2010.

The Baka, Bagyeli and Bakola Communities made it very clear:

1. That climate change is happening now in their forests and, to stop this, industrialised countries must stop polluting, which means that any protection of forests must not be through market mechanisms (like carbon credits) which allow this to continue, nor through mechanisms which end up funding industrial logging (presented as ‘sustainable forest management’) industrial plantations (presented as ‘reforestation’) and the exclusion of local people (presented as ‘conservation’).

2. That they fear that REDD projects will not benefit them but will exclude them and benefit others (including industrial plantations, loggers, conservationists, more powerful neighbouring communities, and state and local authorities). They insist they be included equally in benefit sharing, which (from their experience of, for example, not receiving any portion of the Annual Forest Royalties) requires they be treated separately so that benefits actually reach them.

3. That their rights to their forests must be recognised, and that their right to be included in decision-making be realised. The Baka, Bagyeli and Bakola have not been consulted (as required by the World Bank’s own procedures) in the process of drawing up Cameroon’s application to the World Bank for REDD funding.

In conclusion, they made clear that: (i) if their right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) is not realised; (ii) if their rights to their forest are not recognised; and (iii) if there are not clear mechanisms for including them equally in the benefit sharing that should flow from any REDD project, then they will not accept REDD.

The forest peoples and other civil society organisations at the civil society workshop questioned whether REDD in its current form can: (i) help solve climate change; (ii) help secure the rights of forest peoples to their land; or even (iii) ensure all local communities (including forest peoples) benefit from REDD projects. They suggest REDD may simply allow industrialised countries to continue polluting, and allow industrial loggers, plantations and conservation organisations to take more control of the forests.

The Baka, Bagyeli and Bakola point out that their activities have not harmed but have protected the forest, and they would welcome a form of REDD that would support them to continue this, not one that would continue the destruction of their forests and perpetuate their marginalisation. ###
For more information please contact:
Louise Henson – info [at] forestpeoples [dot] org
Tel: +44 (0)1608 652893
Forest Peoples Programme

1c Fosseway Business Centre
Stratford Road
Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire GL56 9NQ
United Kingdom
This work has been supported by the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), the Centre for Environment and Development (CED); and is funded by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI)