Yaoundé, 16th March 2022/ The Ministry of Forests and Wildlife wants to allocate nearly 400,000 hectares of forest to logging concessions according to a decree made public in December 2021. Greenpeace Africa and its partners Green Development Advocates (GDA) and Service d’Appui aux Initiatives Locales de Développement (SAILD) see such a decision as one of the too many threats to Cameroon’s biodiversity and call on the government to cancel this call for tender as well as the Nkam and Donga-Mantung concessions auctioned in August 2021.

On 16 December 2021, the Cameroonian Minister of Forests and Wildlife (MINFOF) launched a call for tenders for the allocation of five logging concessions representing approximately 400,000 ha of logging concessions in the Eastern and Central regions, a process that is currently underway. These include four Forest Management Units (FMUs) in the East region and one in the Central region. Four FMUs are opened only to “companies with FMUs in the North-West and South-West regions”, a measure taken by the government to make up for the losses suffered by loggers operating in these regions due to the unstable security situation in recent years.  

For Ranece Jovial Ndjeudja, Forest Campaign manager at Greenpeace Africa, “MINFOF’s decision to allocate this area of forest using the crisis in the NOSO as an argument seems contradictory and paradoxical. Moreover, the allocation of these forests poses many threats to the communities and biodiversity that live in and depend on them.” 

Earlier this month, a dozen inhabitants of the villages of Bonamangolo, Bindjen 1, Ndokati, Heroun, Boumkwa, Bekong, Timte, Bolam, Bewang, and Ndoktamba were arrested and detained for protesting against the allocation of FMU 07-003b last December. The Nkam FMU was one of two concessions offered by the Ministry of Forestry to the highest bidder in August 2021.  The other is located in the middle of the North West and South West crisis zone in the Donga-Mantung department and covers 45,794 ha.

For the coordinator of Green Development Advocates (GDA), Aristide Chacgom, “it is foolish to continue to exploit the forest in the name of development, when we know that these activities only benefit a very small circle of people. The forest is not an unlimited resource. It will eventually disappear if it is not protected.” “These so-called development projects have not really helped to improve the living conditions of Cameroonians as a whole, on the contrary, they contribute to the deterioration of the living conditions of indigenous people and local communities, whose survival still depends on the forest,”he added. 

Clearly, the government’s forest management policies constitute  a real danger to the well-being of local communities and biodiversity, and appear to be in conflict with the set of international commitments to which Cameroon has subscribed in recent years. “The government’s forestry policy appears to be a real issue to the safeguarding of the way of life of local communities and the preservation of biodiversity. It violates all of Cameroon’s international commitments in this sector. The solution to development does not lie in the destruction of the forest. Cameroon can develop without destroying itself“, concludes Ghislain Fomou of the SAILD (Service d’Appui aux Initiatives Locales de Développement).

As Cameroon prepares to join the international community in celebrating International Forest Day, Greenpeace Africa and its partners GDA and SAILD are calling for the cancellation of the Nkam and Donga-Mantung concessions and the cancellation of the ongoing tender for the five concessions in the East and Centre.

Audio – Ranece Ndjeudja

Greenpeace Africa Newsdesk: [email protected] 

Luchelle Feukeng

Communications Officer, Greenpeace Africa

Email: [email protected], +237 656463545 (WhatsApp)

Ranece Jovial NDJEUDJA 

Congo Basin Forest Campaigner, Greenpeace Africa

Email and Tel: [email protected], +237 699901742

Ghislain FOMOU 

Head of Natural Resources Management Programme, SAILD, 

Email and Tel: [email protected] +237 676160858

Aristide CHACGOM

Coordinator GDA

Email and Tel: [email protected], +237 679658515