Independent observation to monitor forest activities and infractions has been in place since June 2000, starting with Global Witness until March 2005, then Resource Extraction Monitoring to December 2009, and the Belgian research institute AGRECO, in partnership with the Cameroonian NGO CEW since 27 January 2010. The Independent Observer (IO) does not enforce the law, but through its work covering all logging titles it promotes law enforcement. Its reports are sent to a reading committee, where the infractions detected are debated. Following this committee's considerations, the IO requests clearance from the Ministry of Forests and Wildlife to publish the reports. Only after authorisation from the Ministry are the reports finally published.
The presence of the IO allows the public to denounce illegal logging; however the current IO has insisted that it is not possible to carry out a field mission without MINFOF having ordered it under the terms of reference of the contract. This restriction means that the Observer cannot carry out on-the-spot missions to verify the situation in logging camps.
The recognition of the role of communities and civil society organisations (CSOs) in the supervision and monitoring of forest management is part of the proposals made by civil society stakeholders for the review of the forest law. If such a recommendation were adopted it would enable independent observation to be formalised at local level, led by the communities and the CSOs.
|The Independent Observer project for the supervision of forests and monitoring of infringements in the sector in Cameroon (OIF)
|a. Global Witness (GW)
b. Resource Extraction Monitoring (REM)
c. AGRECO/CEW consortium
|a. June 2000 - March 2005
b. March 2005 - December 2009
c. January 2010 to date