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Breakthrough Research on Community Forest Governance in Cameroon by Serge Piabuo from Oasis Publishers

Breakthrough Research on Community Forest Governance in Cameroon by Serge Piabuo from Oasis Publishers
New York, NY, November 13, 2018 --( Serge Mandiefe Piabuo presently works at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. Piabuo carries out research in Forestry, Enterprise development, Agricultural Economics and qualitative and quantitative social research.

Piabuo took up research on community forest governance in Cameroon. His interest in this field encouraged him to study this particular issue in greater detail.

Since there is growing evidence that good community forest (CF) governance is a significant determinant of CF success, Serge and his team assessed CF level governance in Cameroon. They did this by applying a set of good governance principles to 36 case studies. They put into effect key good principles viz., accountability, equity, participation, representation, direction, and performance.

On examination, Serge and his team found out that the condition of CF was relatively poor, with 78% of the case studies not meeting the required standards for the aforementioned principles. Evidence suggested, that all case studies did not meet standards for accountability and equity. The results also revealed that more than 70% of the case studies did not meet the expectation in participation, direction and performance.

Serge, however, noticed the role positive governance played in enhancing CF employment; contribution to social investments like roofing of houses, provision of water, health, and training; improved community participation in sustainable management of forests. Good governance brought about improved awareness of environmental protection and sustainable exploitation practices; enabled fair representation of and empowerment of indigenous minorities such as the Baka. This resulted in the creation of a Baka-led CF.

Serge’s further research allowed him to understand that the presence of economic activities, which generated direct benefits; the extent of technical support, and influential and supportive enterprise too transpired as prime drivers of positive outcomes in CF governance.

Serge’s paper discussed the positive outcomes, mostly in the domains of participation and voice, representation, direction, and performance. The group of researchers concluded that the fair representation of the Baka in management committees led to the creation of a CF led by the Pygymy. Subsequently, it increased employment in CFs and contribution to the social investment like roofing for housing, provision of water, health, and training.

When the positive factors i.e., capacity building, social cohesion, and participation and the Cameroon- specific success factors i.e., benefit generation, partnership, monitoring policy support, technical support, governance, financial support, practice choices and institutions were identified, they all seemed to correspond with that of the developing nations.

Serge has suggested some incentives based on the literature on incentives. He has stressed on facilitating the process of obtaining community forest enterprises (CFE) legal documents such as waybills and certificates of origin and exploring the potentially concerted relationship between Ministry of Finance (MINFI) and MINFOF to eliminate taxes on products from CFEs because of their status as social enterprises. This will aid in faster and obstacle-free, people friendly process.

In addition to the above, Serge’s paper also sheds light on the need of an organization of national workshops in collaboration with national agencies to discuss and agree on techniques of addressing recurrent CF governance such as elite capture, gender and minority inequality, poor accountability and participation.

In his viewpoint, these national workshops will serve as avenues to review current regulatory text to integrate CF governance-related issues relative to representation, accountability, and equity. Furthermore, he says that official recognition of the civil society organizations during such workshops would act as a morale boost.

Serge also describes how to encourage supportive elites through awards might help in the overall progress. He recommends an award- type approach to CFs on a periodic basis, in which the elites that encourage and are supportive should be given nationwide recognition.

Serge feels the need of disincentives as well. According to him, certain punitive measures may apply when the outcomes are not favourable. For e.g., naming and shaming, punishments and prosecutions in cases of corruption or embezzlement and power abuse by elites should attract punitive measures.

Serge’s paper has demonstrated the need for incentives and how the active consideration of these in policy formulation in the future could potentially help in expansion and stimulation of good governance within the community forestry with appropriate implementation being key.

Piabuo Serge’s research has integrated ecology and society, the two vital spheres. It can be of great help to the authorities formulating policies and to the students wanting to add to his research on community forest governance in Cameroon.
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Oasis Publishers
Serge Piabuo

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