The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and partners have launched an innovative project to enhance sustainable management of community forests in Cameroon. The five-year project is known as DRYAD and is funded by DFID. It is being implemented in collaboration with TMP systems as well as NGOs and Community forest enterprises in Cameroon.
Cameroon has in recent years made commendable effort in the provision of community forestry management as a way to conserve forests. However, the potential for this approach is hampered by a lack of financial resources, technical and technological skills.
DRYAD is providing support to overcome these challenges in several ways; key being the introduction of public financing to enable community enterprises overcome initial capital constraints. Funds will be provided through a performance based financial monitoring system to ensure that community forest enterprises that generate impact to the environment, and also improve the community’s status economically and socially benefit. In addition, the project will train the communities on technical and business skills of data collection and reporting through appropriate innovative technology, proper record keeping and building investment portfolios that make them credit worthy.
The official launch of the project was held under the auspices of Cameroon’s Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife and the British high Commission in Cameroon. Community representatives, as well as national and international partners attended the event.
Speaking on behalf of the Minister, the Secretary General in the Ministry for Forestry and Wildlife, Mr. Koulagna Denis Koutou appraised the DRYAD project as being unique in the way it has been conceived and designed as well as the framework put in place for its implementation.
He noted that community forestry in Cameroon face challenges to do with technical, technology and financial capacity and DRYAD would play an important role in meeting these challenges. He encouraged the implementing partners comprised of local NGOs and selected community enterprises to utilize the opportunity to their benefit.
The British High Commissioner to Cameroon, H.E. Brian Olley said that they were happy to support the project as strengthening community forest management in a sustainable manner is an effective way through which the Government of Cameroon can meet climate change goals and remedy deforestation. While applauding the steps taken so far by the Government of Cameroon in transferring forest rights to communities, he called on all partners to take deep interest in the project and reinforce their collaboration to ensure that the objectives of the project are met.
According to Dr Peter Minang, Environmental Science Domain leader at ICRAF and the Global Coordinator, ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins who is overseeing DRYAD implementation, the aim is to impact on about 30 community forest enterprises and to cover a maximum of 150,000 ha of forestland in Cameroon over the next five years.
ICRAF’s Regional coordinator in West Africa Dr. Zac Tchoundjeu appreciated the Cameroon government through the Ministry for Forestry and Wildlife, and DFID for supporting the project and urged for cooperation among the various partners and stakeholders in implementing and realizing benefits from the project that has potential to be scaled up and out to impact on the entire Congo Basin.