Lessons for REDD+ from Cameroon’s past forestry law reform: a political economy analysis

Research, part of a Special Feature on REDD+ national policy networks: information flows, influence and coalitions for change

 

Copyright © 2014 by the author(s). Published here under license by the Resilience Alliance. Dkamela, G., M. Brockhaus, F. Kengoum Djiegni, J. Schure, and S. Assembe Mvondo. 2014. Lessons for REDD+ from Cameroon’s past forestry law reform: a political economy analysis. Ecology and Society 19(3): 30. http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-06839-190330

 

Auteurs: Guy Patrice Dkamela, Maria Brockhaus, Felicien Kengoum Djiegni, Jolien Schure and Samuel Assembe Mvondo 

 

ABSTRACT

 

Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and enhancing forest carbon stocks (REDD+) is gaining traction in Cameroon. However, given the deep-rooted trans-sectoral drivers of forest loss, enforcing REDD+ policies will require major policy change and reform both within and beyond the forestry sector. In this paper, we view the REDD+ policy arena in Cameroon within a political economy framework and conduct policy network analysis to explore the factors that will enable or hinder efforts to implement the broad policy change required to realize REDD+. As the REDD+ context is shaped by the history of Cameroon’s forestry sector, we draw lessons for REDD+ from the forestry law reform undertaken in 1994. We focus our analysis on three factors considered necessary for REDD+ success: (i) autonomy of the nation state from interests behind deforestation and forest degradation, (ii) national ownership over reform processes, and (iii) inclusiveness of policy processes. We find that the REDD+ policy process in Cameroon is repeating the weaknesses of the earlier forestry law reform, as seen in the minimal ownership of REDD+ by national actor groups and low inclusiveness among domestic actors at both national and local levels, as well as the absence of a national coalition for REDD+.

 

Furthermore, politics and private agendas are compromising state agencies’ autonomy in making decisions about forest resources. Our findings suggest that responses to these weaknesses, as well as to inconsistencies between sectoral policies and to competition over forest resources, will determine whether REDD+ can induce change within and beyond Cameroon’s forestry sector.

 

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