Enhancing legality of the wood value chain – Cameroon

Cameroon has taken a great step ahead in the fight against illegal logging and illegal timber trade, sending a strong signal to all operators in the forestry sector, but also contributing to ‘greening’ and rationalizing the value chain and its standards. A much-awaited inter-ministerial decree has been issued by the Government on December 15th, paving the way for all public procurements requiring the use of ‘legal’ timber.

In essence, the decree, signed by the Minister of Forests and Wildlife (MINFOF), the Minister of Public Works (MINP), and the Minister to the Presidency in charge of Marchés Publics (MINMAP), will apply the definition of ‘legal timber’ as agreed under the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) signed with the European Union (EU) to all public works, and it also mandates all Public Offices and Agencies to establish a database recording the amount of legal timber they consume.

Through its FLEGT Programme funded by the EU, the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the Swedish International Development Cooperation, FAO has supported the MINFOF and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) since 2014 to increase the trade of legal timber on the domestic market. Back then, FAO and CIFOR published a study on National demand for sawnwood in Cameroon, which recommended the promotion of legal timber through the adoption of a Public procurement policy.

The inter-ministerial decree was developed in 2017, in the context of a project funded by the FLEGT Programme and co-implemented by the MINFOF, the CIFOR and the Centre de recherche et d'action pour le développement durable en Afrique Centrale (CERAD). The MINFOF played a decisive role in advocating for the signature of this decree. A Cameroonian Delegation also participated in a regional workshop organized by the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme in Abidjan in 2019, that was a major contribution to the developing such policies in the region.

FAO continuing’s efforts to sustainable forest management, production and consumption are now boosted as part of its work under the joint initiative of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), Sustainable Wood for a Sustainable (SW4SW). Following the results of a wood value chain assessment in Cameroon conducted in collaboration with the WWF-France, which shows that the domestic and regional markets are responsible for the consumption of around 50% of the total wood production in the country with high dominance of informal production and often illegal production, FAO is supporting the MINFOF directly on formulation of measures to increase legality and sustainability of the artisanal producers, in particular regarding their access to legal wood and to increased processing efficiency in tandem with the revitalization of the Wood Promotion Center (CPB).

Through collaboration with the International Tropical Timber Technical Association (ATIBT), in 2021, FAO will also work with the MINFOF and other partners in the region to facilitate regional cooperation towards more transparent, sustainable and higher value-added value chains.

last updated:  Wednesday, December 23, 2020