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Environmentalists Slam Cameroon Forestry Ministry Of Legal Irregularities In CAMVERT Project

Green Development Advocates and Greenpeace Africa have slammed the Cameroon government for legal irregularities.

An analysis note published on October 26 highlights three irregularities concerning the attribution of five timber sales in favour of the CAMVERT project. This project is found within the national domain in Campo in the South Region.

This is a worrying development especially a few days before COP 27, in which Cameroon, as in previous years, intends to take part, the NGOs state.  

Three violations of the law by the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, Jules Doret Ndongo are: the sale of timber after the concession was already granted for the CAMVERT Project, logs outside the CAMVERT concessions verified and a concession of three years not renewable cautioned by a competent commission.

According to the forest defenders “the orders for the sale of timber were signed on February 16, 2022, whereas the provisional concession decree was signed on March 7, 2022 by the Head of State, giving Camvert the right to operate in the field. Indeed, according to the regulations, the opposite should have happened; in order to give a legal basis justifying the sales of logs at this period. The Minister has put the cart before the horse‘, says Aristide Chacgom, GDA coordinator. 

Green DevelopmentAdvocates and Greenpeace wonder how the extension was justified when the decree was not signed.

Article 2 common to the various decrees states that the sales of cuttings result from the implementation of the CAMVERT SA palm grove extension project. “At this stage of the project, how and why can the extension be justified when, at the time of the signing of the decrees, the provisional concession had not even been awarded? The absurdity continued with the allocation of a single sale of salvage logging on the area (39,923 ha) that the President of the Republic would later allocate as a provisional concession. Verification by means of the GPS coordinates provided in the decrees shows that the other four sales of timber are outside the area allocated for exploitation by CAMVERT,” adds Aristide Chacgom. 

The argument runs that f timber in the national domain are only attributed after three years after a competent commission has voiced its opinion.

In the forests of the national domain, sales of timber are attributed after the opinion of a competent commission for a period of three (3) years, which is not renewable.” Contrary to this provision of paragraph 2 of article 55 of law N°94/01 of 20 January 1994 on the regime of forests, fauna and fisheries, Minister Jules Doret NDONGO has provided in his decrees in articles 13 and 14 that sales of timber are attributed for a period of one year with a renewal procedure. “When analyzing the practice of this ministerial department, it is certain that such a modification opens the door to manipulation of both volumes and attributable areas,” concludes Aristide Chacgom. 

Greenpeace Forest Campaigner , Stella Tchoukep cautioned that, “It is necessary to stop deceiving Cameroonians, local communities and indigenous peoples whose lives depend on the forest; a few days before the climate conferences, we once again call on the Government of Cameroon to stop destroying forests in violation of the rights of local populations and its international commitments in relation to the fight against climate change.”