“How can community control over woodlands be obtained and maintained?” This was the question the African Network on Community Rights met in Douala (Cameroon) to answer"


Copies of the “Declaration of the African Network on Community Rights to Communities and Civil Society NGO’s” and “Recommendations for Governments to Create Favourable Conditions" are now available for download.


docs/news/Fevrier-Avril 2011/peuple autochtones.jpg

A conference was held in Douala (Cameroon), from 13 – 16 September 2011 on the theme “How can Community Control over Woodlands be Obtained and Maintained?” ». Participating in the Douala workshop, which was organized by the Centre for Environment and Development (CED) with the technical and financial support of ACRN, FERN, FPP, and ClientEarth, were at least two representatives each from the civil society and/or forest communities of Liberia, Ghana, Cameroon, Congo Brazzaville, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon.


Representatives of the international support organisations, namely: FERN, FPP, ClientEarth, RRI and the land law expert, Liz Alden Wily also took part in the conference. Alden Wily also took part in the conference. Finally, representatives of the Cameroon Government, COMIFAC and the World Bank, participated as well, though only during the 4th day.


The main objectives of the conference were as follows:

♦ To better understand the reality with regards to sustainable community management of woodlands, including the environmental and developmental advantages likely to result from the recognition of customary land tenure systems in state law and institutional practices.

♦ To better understand national legal and institutional obstacles to community control over woodlands as well as possibilities for legal reform

♦ To clarify the concept of customary land tenure systems and legislative law and demonstrate how these two legal regimes can complement each other in fostering the recognition of tenure rights

♦ To clarify the concept of procedural law (right to justice, right to information, right to consultation, etc.) as understood within the framework of the application of rights, including tenure rights

♦ To examine the FLEGT and REDD processes at national level and identify where and how they provide opportunities and/or are threats to the acquisition and defence of community control of woodlands, especially through the case study of best practices

♦ To draw up a common document/declaration that can later be used by civil society groups within the framework of their own advocacy missions, for example, by presenting it to local governments and/or through other relevant national and regional platforms It was also intended that this declaration be presented to representatives of the Cameroon Government, COMIFAC and the World Bank during a meeting on 16 September, 2011.


After the opening ceremony followed by the adoption of an agenda for the conference, participants proceeded to a plenary session in which they listened to several presentations. Issues requiring in-depth reflection were analysed in workgroups. Among the presentations made were:


(1) "Presentation of the Context” by Liz Alden Wily. She talked on the situation of customary/indigenous rights on woodlands in Africa and their implications/threats. This presentation was followed by a question and answer session.

(2) “Property Ownership and Communal Use of Land Resources, Opportunities and Threats”,

(3) “Challenges to Community Acquisition and Maintenance of Ownership Rights on their Lands”,

(4) “Presentation of the FLEGT Process”,

(5) “Presentation of the REDD Process”,

(6) “Lessons from the FLEGT and REDD Processes”, (7) Group Session: Identify what tools are required at the national and community level to reinforce community control over forests.


After four days of hard and productive work, the participants drew up: the Declaration of the African Network on Community Rights to Communities and NGO’s of the Civil Society and a series of strong recommendations to governments in view of creating favourable conditions were made to, among other things:

(1) ensure that customary land ownership rights are recognised as part of the right to property by state law,

(2) ensure the legal recognition of community governance and support for transparent, democratic and inclusive governance,

(3) ensure that legal reform takes place on the basis of public participation, especially the participation of indigenous peoples,

(4) ensure that the procedures and processes by which laws are applied be put in place within reasonable deadlines.

For further information, please download:

♦ Final Agenda of the Douala Conference

♦ Briefing Note


Declaration of the African Network on Community Rights to Communities and Civil Society NGO’s on the event of the Douala Conference on the Rights of Communities; Cameroon, 13 - 23 September 2011


Recommendations to the Government, Declaration of the Douala Conference on the Rights of Communities, The African Network on the Rights of Communities, Cameroon, 13-16 September, 2011

♦ (Available only in English): Address to the African Community Rights Network conference on community rights, by Silas Siakor: Final day meeting of civil society and communities from the Congo basin, Ghana and Liberia, and Cameroon government representatives, 16 September 2011

Photograph: A Cultural presentation by indigenous people @FIPACII

Go back


Fern- What role do forests and governance play in countries’ nationally determined contributions to the Paris Climate Agreement?

This study analyses the correlation between forest governance and deforestation and aims to improve national understanding of the challenges involved in land-use governance. The multistakeholder Voluntary Partnership Agreement process has created an unprecedented opportunity for dialogue on improving transparency and accountability in the forestry sector. The study outlines the efforts needed to improve forest governance in Cameroon.

Read more …

DRC-MEDD - Forest: the reallocation of 650,000 hectares of DRC forests does not violate the moratorium (MEDD)

In response to charges made by the international NGO, Greenpeace, against the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development (MEDD), Minister Ambatobe’s office has released a statement to clarify some aspects of the case. In a press release issued Tuesday evening, 20 January 2018, regarding Greenpeace’s allegations, the MEDD insisted and signed a statement to the effect that, "the reallocation of said concessions does not violate the moratorium on logging concessions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo".

Read more …

FAO-Gabon: Validation workshop on Participatory Forestry review in Gabon

In a bid to help Gabon’s participatory forestry sector reach its full potential, the Ministry of Forestry and the Environment has conducted a study to review participatory forestry with the technical assistance of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The FAO’s framework for assessing the extent and effectiveness of Participatory Forestry was used to conduct the study. A validation workshop on the study was held from 21 to 22 February 2018.

Read more …

Greenpeace-Rainforest Foundation: DRC government reinstates illegal logging concessions in breach of its own moratorium

Kinshasa, 20 February 2018. The Congolese Minister of Environment, Amy Ambatobe, has reinstated 6,500 km² of logging concessions that were cancelled in August 2016 by one of his predecessors, Robert Bopolo, on the orders of then Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo. The three concessions which were reinstated on 1 February 2018 were awarded to the Chinese-owned logging companies FODECO and SOMIFOR.

Read more …

Final communique: Relaunch workshop of the National Forum of the Conference on Dense and Humid Forest ecosystems of Central Africa (CEFDHAC - Cameroon)

The meeting of the National Forum of the Conference on Dense and Humid Forest ecosystems of Central Africa- Cameroon (CEFDHAC) was held on 13 and 14 February 2018 at the Yaoundé Conference Centre.

Read more …

Thegef: International Women’s Day 2018: Transforming women’s lives and securing a more sustainable future

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is “transforming women’s lives”, and we also need to consider the transformative role that women play in steering our planet towards a sustainable future.

Read more …

IISD: “Working Across Sectors to Halt Deforestation and Increase Forest Area” From Aspiration to Action

On Thursday morning, participants met to discuss innovative instruments to upscale progress: financing, technologies and research. Parallel sessions addressed: public and private international finance; innovative technologies for land-use monitoring; financial instruments to mobilize domestic funding; and the role of science and research.

Read more …

IISD: Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Switzerland Launch Conference

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Switzerland was launched in Bern, Switzerland, on 15 February 2018, as part of the global SDSN, a UN initiative. SDSN Switzerland aims to provide an environment to discuss challenges faced by Switzerland in the context of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, as well as the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development.

Read more …

CBFP News Archive