WWF Enabling Environment Assessment Tool as instrument for community actors to promote forest governance

Posted on 09 May 2021
Baka woman tells participants marginalisation is major constraint to forest governance
© Ernest Sumelong/WWF
The start of logging in Ngoyla Municipality in 2012, in one of the then intact forests in Southeast Cameroon, inspired hope from local people who saw in it an opportunity for improvement of their living conditions. Nine years later, most locals still live in similar conditions as before the start of timber exploitation, in spite of substantial revenue generated every year.

Local actors say they are not involved in the forest governance process as they are often not informed about deals with logging companies and management of revenues accruing from wood exploitation. They say lack of transparency and accountability in the management of forest resources have fuelled mistrust and conflicts between the local people and managers of the forest.

In an effort to promote good governance and responsible forest management in the landscape, WWF has organized training for local community actors around Nki National Park and the Ngoyla Wildlife Reserve on good governance and the use of the Enabling Environment Assessment Tool (EEAT). The tool will assist locals in analysing and assessing the state of forest governance based on the principle of accountability, transparency, inclusiveness and efficiency in forestry management. The tool helps actors involved in forest management to know areas of weaknesses and where to make efforts.

A three-day workshop to train local actors on good governance in forestry management took place in Ngoyla, from March 10 to 12, grouping representatives of local communities, municipal and government officials, community forest managers, youth and women groups, indigenous Baka, civil society organisations and WWF.

During the meeting, the multi-actor platform of the Ngoyla Municipality identified the marginalization of the Baka as one of the major constraints to good forest governance. Besides, as they are in remote areas, they do not have access to information and so cannot defend their rights considering their lack of knowledge of what the law says. The platform is therefore committed to combat discrimination between Baka and Bantu and promote transparency and inclusiveness.

 “What we have learnt is very instructive. Most forest managers lack this knowledge. Without this tool, we cannot produce good results. It is for the actors to adopt best practices especially transparency,” states Mikouoh Eloua Nestor, representative of CAFT, a local Civil Society Organisation. “As leader of a women’s association, I will take this message of good governance to my group and try to apply it there. To achieve good forest governance, we need to involve all components of the community; women, youth, the Baka and the handicapped,” says Mrs. Mewol Jacquette, President of the Association of Women of Ngoyla.

The workshop marked the first time local stakeholders did a thorough analysis of all the indicators of forest governance. Mengue Emmanuel, representative of Community Forest CODEMBA, says, “if the community and the different actors involved in the forest management chain take interest and apply this tool, many things will improve.”

According to Belmond Tchoumba, WWF Central Africa Forest Coordinator, local actors are key players to promote good governance because they are at the other end of the chain. “We realized that they are not well equipped to play their role. We have provided this tool to help them to analyse the context of forest governance and to identify areas where they can lobby to promote good forest governance in their environment,” Tchoumba says.

A major challenge in using the EEAT tool for the local communities would be the means. “To be effective, they will have to use this tool on a regular basis and would therefore need support and follow up in the process. We are committed to providing necessary support to promote good governance in the Cameroon segment of the Tri-National Dja-Odzala-Minkébé (TRIDOM) landscape,” Tchoumba adds.
Baka woman tells participants marginalisation is major constraint to forest governance
© Ernest Sumelong/WWF Enlarge
Participants check key facts on maps showing forested areas in Cameroon
© Ernest Sumelong/WWF Enlarge
Local people hope Enabling Environment Assessment Tool will improve forest governance
© Fidelis Manga Enlarge