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2013 Assessment Findings
The 2013 assessment suggests that progress has stalled in Cameroon since 2010.
The reform of the legislative framework for the forest sector has yet to be completed; and while there have been improvements in the availability of forest sector information, many gaps remain. Furthermore, the principle of transparency has yet to be broadly accepted within the government. Enforcement is weak and information management systems are deemed inadequate. Most important, corruption remains widespread and there is an apparent lack of political will to institute change.
While there is evidence of progress in the private sector – the area of forests with legality verification and certification has increased – illegal activities are rife throughout the forest sector. 50% of all timber production is estimated to come from the informal artisanal sector – mainly supplying the domestic market. However, illegal activities are also common in supply chains for export.
Since 2000 trade has shifted away from sensitive markets: the EU market’s significance as a destination for Cameroon’s exports of timber-sector products has decreased, while China’s significance has increased enormously.
2010 Assessment Findings
The 2010 assessment showed that illegal logging in Cameroon had fallen by around 50 per cent during the early 2000s. All of the reduction, however, was related to industrial production for export – small-scale illegal logging for domestic markets appeared to have increased. Cameroon was the only one of the five initial producer countries studied which had a national-level independent monitor in place and this had led to some improvements in government response. The area of production forest independently verified in Cameroon doubled between 2006 and 2009 – in 2009, 37% of production forest was verified. Although there had been some improvements, relevant laws, policies and regulations in Cameroon remained quite weak in a number of areas, however, and around 35 per cent of logging may have still been illegal.
Recommendations made on the basis of the assessment included that: penalties needed to be increased and fully implemented in order to provide a sufficient deterrent; enforcement coordination needed to be improved; and greater effort was also needed in addressing artisanal logging for the domestic market, which represented the bulk of illegal logging. Many outstanding issues were being addressed under the auspices of Cameroon’s voluntary partnership agreement with the EU.