The government of Cameroon, through the Ministry of Forest and Wildlife, MINFOF, and a US-based organisation, World Resources Institute, WRI, represented in the country by the Global Forest Watch, GFW, on June 17, signed a convention of collaboration for a sustainable management of Cameroon's forest resources.
The convention signed on behalf of Cameroon by the Minister of Forest and Wildlife, Hillman Achuo Egbe, and for WRI by the Coordinator of GFW Project in Cameroon, Benoit Mertens, was the renewal of a similar one signed by the same organisation with the then Ministry of Environment and Forestry, MINEF, in June 2002.
In a speech at the ceremony, Mertens said the main objective of the initiative in Cameroon and other countries of the sub-region as well as the world, is to support sustainable management of forests.
He referred to the convention of June 2002 as the first ever-African cartography partnership between a government and an independent body.
The outcome of that convention, according to Mertens, resulted in the production of an overview of the situation of the national forestry holdings, creation of maps and tools to support officials of MINFOF in their cartographic activities, follow-up and surveillance of forest exploitation throughout the nation.
Despite the regular production of maps and other publications, Mertens said the collaboration had a major achievement at the start of this year with the publication of the first version of the Interactive Atlas of Cameroon. He hoped that the atlas would become an integral part in the decision making process of a sustainable management of Cameroon's forestry ecosystems.
The GFW Coordinator noted that the renewal of the convention obliges his institution to continue with its support to the Cameroon government and the civil society in strict respect of terms of reference outlined in the accord.
It warrants WRI through GFW to intensify training at various levels, collect and update necessary information and improve on communication and sensitisation of all the stakeholders in the sector.
Addressing the audience, Achuo Egbe, Minister of Forest and Wildlife, said in 1999, the government, with the support of the international community, launched a national forestry programme meant to contribute in the country's policy of sustainable and participatory management of the fauna and forestry resources.
He said it was in the quest to master the resources and promote transparency in the forestry sector as well as fight against illegal practices, that the first convention of collaboration was signed between former MINEF and GFW in 2002.
The Minister said the purpose of the collaboration is the use of tele-detection and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to develop cartographic and statistical bases for use and management of forest resources in Cameroon.
He cited publications such as an overview of the situation of forestry exploitation in Cameroon (2000); allocation of logging permits in Cameroon: fine-tuning Central Africa's first auction system (2002); and the interactive forestry atlas of Cameroon, as some of the concrete results of the partnership.