To date, no measures have been taken to improve consultation with stakeholders prior to any allocation of titles. The lack of any obligation to consult on the allocation and use of natural resources can lead to conflicts on the ground when the concessionaire arrives to start its activity. It can also lead to overlaps in the use of the allocated area.
Prior to the granting of a permit there is no consultation with stakeholders. The procedure for allocating concessions is controlled by the Ministry of Forests and Wildlife (MINFOF), with an Independent Observer (IO) for the allocation of forest concessions. The IO does not represent the stakeholders and its report must be validated by MINFOF. Moreover, procedures for transparent verification of smaller titles are still not applied to small titles. However, a consultation process is envisaged with the framework of classification of the forests.
Consultation with stakeholders before any commercial forest permits are issued would guarantee the transparency and the reliability of the process. The omission of this principle is an obstacle to efforts made by the Government to improve governance so far. The new Forest Law should therefore establish the legal basis for systematic consultation with stakeholders before any permits are issued. Within the framework of the review process on the Forest Act, civil society organisations (CSOs) that make up the forest platform, and the European Union, have drawn up a proposal on the involvement of stakeholders (communities and CSOs in particular) in the permit issuing process (1). It is hoped that the Forest Law currently under review will include specific provisions.
(1) CED (2012). What law for the forest? Proposals by CSOs for the reform of the Forest Act in Cameroon. Available at http://www.transparenceforestiere.info/report-card/updates/600/cameroun-proposition-de-la-soci-t-civile-sur-la-r-forme-de-la-loi-foresti-re/