China-Africa forest governance strengthened with Cameroon event

News, 19 June 2015
An innovative multi-stakeholder event discussing Chinese trade and investment impacting Africa's forests will take place in Yaoundé, Cameroon from 22-25 June.
A forest near Ngon village, Ebolowa district, in Cameroon, which will host an event to bring together Chinese, African and international stakeholders to discuss trade and investment impacting Africa's forests (Photo: Photo by Ollivier Girard for Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Creative Commons, via Flickr)

A forest near Ngon village, Ebolowa district, in Cameroon, which will host an event to bring together Chinese, African and international stakeholders to discuss trade and investment impacting Africa's forests (Photo: Photo by Ollivier Girard for Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Creative Commons, via Flickr)

The four-day dialogue meeting marks the second event of the China-Africa Forest Governance Learning Platform, one of the first multi-stakeholder dialogues in Africa to bring together Chinese, African and international stakeholders on these issues.

The first two days of the event will be held in Yaoundé, followed by a field visit to forest areas and to Kribi, to learn about the development of Cameroon's new deep-sea port and surrounding infrastructure, which was built with Chinese investment. 

The event is organised by the Centre for Environment and Development (CED), the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Network for Environment and Sustainable Development (NESDA-CA) and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in collaboration with the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife of Cameroon (MINFOF).  

This event will bring together diverse attendees from government, civil society, and research institutes from China, Africa and the international community in dialogue on this fast-changing  issue, based on up-to-date research generated by IIED, partners and others, as well as capacity-building initiatives and policy engagement activities conducted over the last few years.

China's imports of African timber and investments in land use in forest areas are both increasing, and China is now the top importer of timber from several African nations.

At the platform's first event in Beijing in March 2013, the Chinese government presented guidelines to help Chinese companies with their social and environmental conduct overseas and enhance the sustainability of the country's overseas forest operations.

The first meeting contributed to immediate positive outcomes – for example, two months later Mozambican delegates met with 50 Chinese timber companies, using the guidelines as a starting point for constructive dialogue.

The China-Africa Forest Governance Learning Platform was developed by IIED, WWF, the Research Institute of Forestry Policy and Information at the Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAF), the Global Environmental Institute (GEI) and African partners from the Forest Governance Learning Group (FGLG), an international alliance that promotes policymaking that serves forest-dependent communities and sustainability.

James Mayers, head of IIED's natural resources group and facilitator of FGLG, said: "By exploring sensitive issues such as illegal and unsustainable logging, the China-Africa Forest Governance Learning Platform has already created trust and political will to confront these challenges.

"At the second event of platform we will build on this and identify opportunities for collaboration among the Chinese and African stakeholders, with tangible plans for research and action to improve forest governance issues in Africa."

Journalists are welcome to attend the meeting, please contact the organisers for more information.

This press release is also available to download in Chinese (PDF).

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