If you are looking for EIA UK, it's overhere.

Relief in the Forest

Cameroon Government Backtracks on the Ebo Forest

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and the Centre pour l’Environnement et le Développement (CED) commends the Cameroon Prime Minister’s recent actions to suspend logging projects in the Ebo Forest, one of the last intact forests in central Africa. The area includes ancestral lands for local communities, among them the Banen people. The Ebo Forest is also home to many endemic species as well as the critically endangered Preuss’s red colobus (Piliocolobus preussi) and the rare and tool-crafting Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes ellioti).

In July, Cameroon’s Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute signed Decree 2020/3216, which converted a forest area of 68,385 hectares (almost the size of New York City or 96,000 football fields) into a logging concession (Forest Management Unit). The decree was the result of an unusually fast gazettement process undertaken during the Covid-19 crisis, with the inability of communities to express their voices due to the restrictions associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. Local non-government organizations and communities have actively opposed the logging project, stating a loss of community rights, livelihoods, and unique forests. Community leaders have voiced their dissent but have been ignored. The decree was reportedly in violation of Cameroonian forestry law (1994) that states the government must consult communities prior to making land use changes.

“Suspending the logging project in the Ebo Forest is a substantial step towards upholding the needs of local communities, preserving unique biodiversity. The case highlights the fragility of the current rule of law in Cameroon and the broad discretionary powers granted to senior officials,” said Lisa Handy, Director of Forests of EIA.

The rapid change in classification of the Ebo Forest is rare and does not instill confidence in the government process. Samuel Nguiffo, Secretary General of CED, based in Yaoundé, observes that “local communities are skeptical of quick decisions and may be on edge at pending threats to their forests. What can they trust to be the stable state of the Ebo Forest in the administrative process and the Cameroonian government’s vision for their forests?”

Timber is Cameroon’s second most important export commodity following the crude oil industry; it contributes to both local and national economies. Under pressure to boost the economy due to the adverse impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and the armed insurrection in the Anglophone Regions, fast-tracked allocation of logging rights can seem an attractive option for a government seeking increased financial flexibility in the short term. However, logging in Cameroon is still for the most part an opaque activity tarnished by frequent corruption and scandals, with well-documented negative environmental and social impacts as described by Nepcon. Every part of the supply chain contains wide ranging risks of illegal logging activities. In fact, the Covid-19 crisis serves to remind us of the risks associated with the destruction of forests in a world already stressed by climate change.

Rapid, non-consultative decisions to harvest the last remaining intact forests in the region will come at significant cost to local people and exacerbate the negative impacts of a changing climate.

Contact for the press: Lindsay Moran, Head of Communications, EIA, lmoran@eia-global.org

To read in French

View all Press Releases

Recent Blog Posts

Letter to Peru President Vizcarra
10/31/2020
Civil society organizations ask Peru President Vizcarra to fight against impunity and not be fooled by the company sentenced for deforesting Tamshiyacu
Seizing the Moment: How Ghana Can End the Destruction of the Illegal Rosewood Trade Now
07/21/2020
As exports and imports worldwide are estimated to be at their lowest levels in four years due to the impact of COVID-19, Ghana, a key epicenter of the rosewood trade in West Africa, is no exception to this trend.

Recent Reports

Cashing-In On Chaos
06/03/2020
Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)’s three-year investigation into the Senegal-Gambia-China rosewood traffic uncovered unprecedented evidence on a series of major forest crimes.
Mukula Cartel
12/05/2019
In Zambia the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) found that a handful of very high profile figures have apparently orchestrated and facilitated massive trafficking operations for years that are driving mukula rosewood trees to the edge of commercial extinction, devastating vulnerable forests and threatening communities’ livelihoods.

Recent Press Releases

Peru Issues 35 Million Dollar Fine, Orders Plantation Company to Leave the Amazon
11/02/2020
Peru Issues 35 Million Dollar Fine, Orders Plantation Company to Leave the Amazon
EIA responds to allegations made by the Timber Trade Federation
10/08/2020
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) received with dismay the statement made by the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) on October 2nd, regarding EIA's press release Dutch Authorities Stop Chinese Plywood Import. We would like to provide the following response to allegations made in the TTF’s statement.

Recent Videos

Mukula Cartel
12/05/2019
In Zambia the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) found that a handful of very high profile figures have apparently orchestrated and facilitated massive trafficking operations for years that are driving mukula rosewood trees to the edge of commercial extinction, devastating vulnerable forests and threatening communities’ livelihoods
Raw Intelligence: GOCA
10/18/2019
Mr. Lu is the Secretary of the Association of Overseas Chinese in Gabon and a leading figure in the Forest Union of the Asian Industry in Gabon (UFIAG). He doesn’t miss an opportunity to publicly defend Chinese logging companies in Gabon, and to assert that these entrepreneurs operate with the best of intentions.
Follow us @eiaenvironment on twitter for the latest updates!