REDD+ projects 4
Other readiness initiatives 17
Forest cover High
Deforestation rate High


REDD in Cameroon

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Cameroon is a high forest cover country, with around 42% of the total land area (equivalent to 20 million ha) covered in forest - 75% of which is dense forest. Cameroon also has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the Congo Basin; according to the FAO the annual average deforestation rate in Cameroon is around 1% per year equivalent to a loss of around 200,000 ha per year.

Cameroon has been engaged in international negotiations on REDD since 2005 and is an active member of the Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC) and the Working Group on Climate Change. Within this context Cameroon has contributed to the preparation and communication of five Congo Basin country submissions to the UNFCCC that helped to highlight the role of forest degradation and sustainable forest management in the REDD discussions. In its proposal Cameroon supports a two phased approach, with both funds and markets, a historical reference emission level with development adjustment factors and national and sub-national implementation.

Cameroon is a member of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) programme and successfully submitted its R-PIN to the FCPF in July 2008. In November 2010, after a year of discussions with the World Bank, the Ministry of Environment and Nature Protection (MINEP) received a USD 200,000 grant for R-PP elaboration. If the R-PP is submitted and accepted by the FCPF, Cameroon will be eligible to a further USD 3.4 million for its implementation. Cameroon is also engaged with the EU FLEGT process to combat illegal logging. The Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) between the EU and Cameroon was signed in May 2010 and is expected to enter into force in two years.

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Institutional arrangements

A longstanding coordination and consultation mechanism in Cameroon is the Consultation Circle of Partners of MINFOF/MINEP (CCPM) that gathers together donors and international organisations that support those two ministries. The CCPM, which has convened around a hundred meetings over ten years, plays an important role in coordinating and aligning government aid to the forestry and environment sectors, mainly through the Forest and Environment Sector Programme (FESP). In general, however, the national REDD process in Cameroon is not yet very well coordinated. While several governmental agencies are engaged in the design and implementation of the REDD strategy, very few have the capacity to engage and are therefore not effectively involved in the process. In addition there is a division of labour across various ministries that has not yet been coordinated. For example, emission reduction activities in both the Permanent Forest Estate (Domaine forestier permament; DFP) and the Non-Permanent Forest Estate (Domaine forestier non-permament; DFNP) would automatically fall under the purview of the Ministry of Forests and Wildlife (MINFOF), whereas the Ministry of Environment and Nature Protection (MINEP) would most likely be the lead agency in the monitoring, reporting and verification aspects of REDD. As yet there isn’t an official process to coordinate between these two ministries, but a plan is underway to gather together representatives from both MINFOF and MINEP to work on REDD.

So far, only a few representatives have been involved in both the Cameroon REDD Pilot Project and in the writing of the terms of reference for the R-PP. Beyond MINEP and MINFOF, a law is currently under development to create a National REDD Committee that would gather together the different ministries and stakeholders that could be affected by the implementation of a national REDD strategy. The process of R-PP development and the R-PP itself are expected to clarify and structure the REDD coordination among ministries, and with other stakeholders (donors, civil society and private sector). One of the key features of success of this coordination will be the willingness and capacity both technically and financially of stakeholders to work together.

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Stakeholder engagement and participation

The Forest Governance Facility (FGF) created in partnership in 2006 between MINFOF, the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV), and the Department for International Development (DFID) is another key example of a process of stakeholder engagement in Cameroon.  The aim of the FGF, together with the Forest and Environment Sector Programme (FESP), is to facilitate the participation of non-state actors in the development and implementation of government policies in the forestry sector (Ingram and de Baan 2005). In 2009 the FGF was transferred to Planet Survey thereby fulfilling a requirement that after two years the initiative would be transferred to a Cameroonian civil society organization (Dkamela, 2011). As discussed above, a law is also currently under development in Cameroon to create a National REDD Committee that would bring together the different ministries and stakeholders affected by the implementation of a national REDD strategy

The Cameroon FCPF programme is expected to clarify the structure of the REDD process within Cameroon, both among ministries and with other stakeholders (i.e. donors, civil society and the private sector). Whilst many organizations were consulted during the formulation of the Cameroon R-PIN, submitted to the FCPF in July 2008, one of the conclusions of the external review was the need for more consultation with both governmental agencies (including MINFOF) and the stakeholders that are engaged in the forestry sector that have not yet become involved in the process such as traditional swiddeners, hunter-gatherers, community forest managers, municipal councils, regional councils, the forestry industry, agribusiness, civil society organizations and so on. At the project level, there has been some civil society and private sector engagement with grassroots communities for example through the Making REDD Work for the Congo Basin project, Pro-Poor REDD project and a Centre for Environment and Development (CED) initiative with Baka and Bagyeli pygmies. 

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Land tenure arrangements and carbon rights

Whist Cameroon has not yet established a coherent policy to address the rights of indigenous populations, certain ad hoc legislation has been introduced for individual programmes in response to pressure from international organisations (Dkamela, 2011). For example, to meet World Bank Operational Policies on indigenous peoples the Pygmy Peoples Development Plan (PPDP) was established as part of the Forest and Environment Sector Programme (FESP) to facilitate the Pygmies’ access to community forests and to ensure fair distribution of the Annual Forest Fee (AFF) and the Wildlife Tax.

Ordinance No. 74/1 of 6 July 1974 establishes the rules governing land tenure in Cameroon. Under this law, all land that is not privately registered is owned by the state and private ownership can only be acquired on land that is used productively through a registration process. In practice however, only a small percentage of land has been registered and most forest people gain access to state-held land through local systems of resource tenure (Cotula and Mayers, 2009). One of the most important aspects of Cameroon’s 1994 Forestry Law is the division of its forest into two domains (Dkamela, 2011): a Permanent Forest Estate (Domaine forestier permament; DFP), which must permanently serve as forest and be sustainably managed according to approved plans, and a Non-Permanent Forest Estate (Domaine forestier non-permament; DFNP) that can be used for other purposes. The DFP account

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Forest management

Illegal logging is a major concern in Cameroon and illegal practices occur at many stages from the issuance of fake concession permits that are not registered in the official figures to illegal transport and export processes that do not comply with official annual cutting limitations. An international NGO - Resource Extraction Monitoring (REM) - has been established as an independent observer in Cameroon to monitor forest exploitation activities. But although there is now a quarterly publication of illegal logging cases and fines, only a small proportion of fines are actually paid and in a number of cases, fines are negotiated down to between 70-98% of their initial amount, thereby weakening the impact of the independent observer (Dkamela, 2011). Another partnership between MINFOF and the Last Great Ape Organization (LAGA) has set up a system of compliance with wildlife legislation. LAGA set up a system to track and halt practices that jeopardise biodiversity, in particular the commercial poaching and sale of protected species. It is involved with legal proceedings, from field investigations to bringing cases before the law courts (Dkamela, 2011).

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Reference levels

In its submission to the UNFCCC Cameroon has proposed an historic reference level with a development adjustment factor to take into account national circumstances such as an increase in population (UNFCCC, 2008). Aside from this process, very little has been elaborated in Cameroon at the government level in terms of reference levels. As with other elements it is expected that the R-PP process under the FCPF will elaborate the process for establishing a reference level in Cameroon.  At the project level, whilst there is still a scarcity of information across many projects, there is a tendency to use projected reference levels, see e.g. the Mt. Cameroon National Park REDD and the Cross River Gorilla Landscape projects.

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Cameroon does not have a formal system for addressing safeguards at the national or state level. The 1994 Forestry Law stipulates that Permanent Forest Estate (DFP) zones should be representative of the national biodiversity and serve as a habitat for wildlife. At the project level of the projects and activities being developed at the project level aim to deliver additional environmental and social benefits. Many of these are using voluntary standards such as the Plan Vivo standard to ensure that projects deliver more than just climate benefits.

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Cameroon’s capacity to monitor deforestation remains relatively low. Whilst there are several sources of official data including forest concession data, financial data and general statistics, at the national level Cameroon does not currently have institutional capacity to monitor emissions from the forest sector. The National Observatory on Climate Change (ONACC) would in theory be well positioned to take on this role, but would require technical and human capacity building to make this an effective organisation.  At the project level, initiatives such as the Reducing Emissions from all Land Uses (REALU) project and the REDD Cameroon Pilot Project will be helpful in constructing MRV systems, especially those relating to emissions from the forest sector.

Several forest cover change analyses have been performed in Cameroon, across different periods and areas. For example, in 2005, as part of its national communication to the UNFCCC, Cameroon estimated its total GHG emissions based on 1994 national statistics and IPCC guidelines. The R-PIN document clearly underlines the limitations of these estimates, though, due to the lack of reliability of data, the lack of national competence, the lack of reliable cartographic information and GIS data and the lack of reliable national statistics. A partnership of MINFOF and WRI has also contributed to the development of information to monitor compliance with logging standards and the state of forest resources (Mertens et al. 2007).


COTULA, L., MAYER, J. 2009. Tenure in REDD: Start-point or afterthought. IIED.

DE WASSEIGE, C., et al. 2009. Les forêts du Bassin du Congo: état des forêts 2008. EU Publications Office.

DKAMELA, GUY PATRICE. 2011. The context of REDD+ in Cameroon: Drivers, agents and institutions. CIFOR.

EUROPEAN COMMISSION AND MINISTRY OF FORESTS AND WILDLIFE OF CAMEROON. 2010. FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement between Cameroon and the European Union: Briefing Note.

FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION. 2010. Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010.

INGRAM, I. AND DE BAAN, P. 2005. Forest Governance Facility: introducing a multi-stakeholder approach in Cameroon’s forest and environment sector. Netherlands Development Organisation, Department for International Development.

MERTENS, B.,et al. 2007. Atlas forestier interactif du Cameroun (version 2.0): document de synthèse. World Resources Institute. 

MINISTRY OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND NATURE PROTECTION. 2008. The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) Readiness Plan Idea Note (R-PIN). Republic of Cameroon.

MINISTRY OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND NATURE PROTECTION. 2008. The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) Readiness Plan Idea Note (R-PIN). Republic of Cameroon.

UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE. 2008. Views on outstanding methodological issues related to policy approaches and positive incentives to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries. Submissions from Parties.