This section provides an overview of transparency in the forest sector, based on the results of our research and the analysis of changes in relation to previous years.
The Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) between Cameroon and the European Union (EU) officially came into effect on 16 December 2011, following its ratification and notification by the two parties. Appendix VII of the VPA commits the parties to publish a specific set of documents and data on the forest sector, and all information should be made available in the event of a specific request by another stakeholder. It also establishes the methods and channels for the publication of the information, including official reports, multi-stakeholder platforms, websites, forums and the media. Overall, 75 types of documents and data are listed under 10 categories including information on the legal system, production, allocation, management, processing, exports, legality assurance, audits, financial transactions, and the institutional set-up.
Thus, the start of 2012 was marked by considerable progress in the legal framework governing forests in terms of the right to information. However, Cameroon still does not have a specific law on the freedom of information, and even the relevant provisions in the Constitution and sector-specific legislation have not been fulfilled.
A gap analysis carried out by CED and Global Witness in 2012, revealed that most of the documents and data specified in Appendix VII of the VPA are not currently published on a regular basis. Administration officials still commonly exercise discretionary power in the dissemination of information and local populations continue to experience considerable difficulties in obtaining key information on logging operations that take place in their region.
Progress towards fulfilment of the commitments stated in Appendix VII will depend on the application of major measures such as a centralised information management system and a strategy for the publication of information through different channels, so that all stakeholders, in particular the communities that depend on forests, can access information and understand it.
Please click on the links below to access the following analysis sections: