The Cameroon Prime Minister's office announced the suspension of logging plans in Ebo forest* on Tuesday, 11 August. The suspension of logging plans, which Greenpeace Africa called "a massacre", leaves the fate of Ebo forest and the rights of local Banen communities entirely unclear.
Ebo forest is essential for more than 40 local Banen communities. Amidst a global coronavirus crisis, Cameroon's government decided to open it for logging, threatening to ruin its unique biodiversity and exacerbate the climate crisis. Greenpeace Africa warned against this, adding that protecting natural wildlife habitats may also be the world's best bet for preventing future pandemics such as COVID-19.
Greenpeace Africa and Rainforest Rescue will continue campaigning until the forest is saved and community rights are secured. The two organizations support the following statement by Chief Victor Yetina of Ndikbassogog, representative of the Association Munen Retour aux Sources, and Dr. Ekwoge Abwe, manager of the San Diego Zoo's Ebo Forest Research Project:
"We welcome the suspension for now of logging plans in Ebo forest, but are concerned that its fate remains unclear. This decision must be the first step towards recognition of Banen's rights and forest protection.
"We call on the Government of Cameroon to adhere to its international commitments**, and to promote participatory mapping and land-use planning with local communities. Land tenure reform must have at its core the full recognition of communities' rights. International donors and NGOs need to support these processes with technical expertise and resources - in Ebo forest and across the Congo Basin rainforest."
* The announcement withdraws decree 2020/3216/PM, incorporating 68,385 hectares of Ebo forest (FMU 07 006) into the private property of the State, as well as it suspends the process gazetting another 65,007 ha of it (FMU 07 005)
** See the recent Law to ratify the 2007 Agreement on the Conservation of Gorillas and their Habitats; the 2015 Paris climate agreement; the 1992 Convention on Biodiversity.