CAMEROON (June 22, 2016) – By one estimate, 75% of Africa’s timber is exported to China but despite this massive scale, little attention has been given to the timber trade’s residual impact on the environment or local communities. In fact, Chinese and African stakeholders are just beginning to address emerging critical issues such as sustainable investments, illegal logging and the impact of projects on rural communities in Africa.
Global Environmental Institute’s “China-Africa Forest Governance Project,” supported by International Institute for Environment and Development (iied) and Department for International Development (DFID).
The project is designed to begin raising the profile of these issues in order to first, achieve improved policy and investment practice in China and Africa and second, to foster good stewardship of forest resources and benefit local communities. Specifically, the project focuses on China’s timber activity in Cameroon, Congo (DRC), Uganda and Mozambique, each of which has large-scale Chinese investment as well as external conditions (political, economic, societal, etc.) that may hinder sustainable China-Africa cooperation.
China & Cameroon Government Dialogue – GEI 2016
Inaugural Meeting of China-Cameroon Wood Association – GEI 2016
GEI visits the Botanical Gardens
GEI’s Mr. Peng REN (R) with a Timber Enterprise Employee
On June 22, 2016, GEI Overseas Investment, Trade and Environment program manager, Mr. Peng REN, and project officer, Ms Qianru MA, traveled to Douala, the largest city in Cameroon, Africa to work with GEI’s Cameroonian partner on the next year’s work plan.
During their stay in Douala, the program officers gained exclusive insight into forestry issues by participating a forestry governmental sector dialogue, the inaugural meeting of the China Cameroon Wood Association, as well as sustainable forest management and training. Throughout this series of activities, the GEI staff remained dedicated to promoting better awareness and coordination by cooperating with African partners from diverse organizations. In fact, Mr. Ren and Ms. Ma actively communicated and exchanged with local forestry authorities, timber industry representatives, local non-governmental organizations, improved understanding among multiple stakeholders, and created a network with those stakeholders.
“It became clear to me that in order to achieve sustainable forest management in China and Africa, Government, private sector, NGOs, and Communities should work together,” said program officer Ms Ma, for whom this trip to Cameroon was her first.
Moving forward, GEI will work to enhance mutual understanding and exchange on forest governance by conducting joint research with Cameroonian partners, organizing a high-level visit and China-Africa Forest Governance Dialogue, tentatively planned for October 2016.