By DOH JAMES SONKEY
After decrying that most of the timber used for local consumption in Cameroon is illegally exploited, Parliamentarians, Civil Society Organizations and Traditional authorities have adopted measures to check timber exploitation in the country.
These measures were taken last July 4, 2019 at the National Assembly in Yaounde at the end of a two-day parliament-government dialogue on how to satisfy the private sector and households’ public order for legal local timber in Cameroon.
Organized by the Network of Parliamentarians for Sustainable Management of Central African Forest Ecosystems Cameroon, known by its French acronym as REPAR with support from the German Cooperation, GIZ to raise alarm on the unchecked situation, the forum enabled participants to brainstorm on the legal timber sector in the internal market, policies to ensure the effective use of legal timber in public works and public contracts, the industrialization plan for the timber sector, perspectives and impacts on the environment and on the economy.
Speaking at the dialogue forum chaired by Deputy Speaker, Hon Baoro Theophile, the President of REPAR, Hon Jean Jacques Zam frowned that “such illegal exploitation of timber for local consumption cannot continue unchecked because both forest communities and the state would be unable to reap any benefit from it.”
Talking to reporters, Senator Mbella Moki Charles explained that “it has always been the idea of REPAR to accompany government in the sustainable management of our forest resources particularly in the timber sector. It therefore requires that we have exchanges like this one in order to strengthen the synergy that exists between NGOs, partners and government.
It is worth noting that the dialogue on legal timber exploitation for local consumption is holding against the backdrop of the 1994 forestry policy focusing on large scale export-oriented forest sector to the detriment of timber production for the domestic market. This legal vacuum, sources say, has favoured the expansion of the illegal local timber market thereby accounting for the loss of about 715,000m3 of timber.