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Comparative assessment of forest revenue redistribution mechanisms in Cameroon: Lessons for REDD+ benefit sharing
Cameroon has long established legal mechanisms for the redistribution of forest and wildlife revenues from economic operations in logging and wildlife extraction to forest communities. This paper draws on a legal review and field data to assess the distribution of these revenues, with an emphasis on the socio-distributional aspects, to draw lessons for the future design and implementation of REDD+ benefit sharing in the country. Central to our analysis are four benefit sharing mechanisms - Annual Forest Fees, Council Forest Revenues, Wildlife Royalties, and Community Forest Revenues - created by the Cameroon government for supporting poverty reduction and local development in the communities living near and around forests. This study focuses on the implementation and outcomes of these mechanisms in four council areas, and assessed them using a 3E (effectiveness, efficiency and equity) lens.
Our findings indicate that the benefit-sharing mechanisms in Cameroon do not entirely fulfill the 3E criteria, and that the trade-offs between them are not always clear or transparent. Despite the well-intentioned objectives behind these mechanisms, weak governance at both national and local levels and poor institutional processes have meant that they do not manage to adequately achieve their goals. There is potential to address these shortcomings through institutional reform of forest finance committees and financial flows, improvement of governance practices through participative financial monitoring, reporting and verification systems, and distribution of benefits in more productive forms that can contribute effectively to sustained local development. In addition, the national REDD+ program could begin to prepare and adopt, through a participatory multi-stakeholder process, a series of safeguards to support implementation of effective, efficient and equitable REDD+ benefit sharing mechanisms in Cameroon.
Author: Assembe-Mvondo, S.; Wong, G.Y.; Loft, L.; Tjajadi, J.S.
Publisher: Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Bogor, Indonesia
Publication Year: 2015