Press Release / Feb. 5, 2003

Cameroon: Global Witness details cases of illegal logging

Global Witness has been working in Cameroon as the Independent Observer in Support of Forest Law Enforcement since May 2001, uncovering cases of illegal logging by working with Government officials as well as independently in the forest.

Global Witness, in its capacity of the Independent Observer released on 31st January 2003 field investigation reports detailing cases of illegal logging. The main conclusions of the 15 reports were supported by the government of Cameroon, concerned Donors and the Independent Observer. Although publication of all reports took place as per the Terms of References of the Project, the publication of 13 were supported by the Cameroonian Ministry of Environment and Forests (MINEF) and 2 were not – reports no 022 and 023.

An increase in transparency is the first step along the road to better governance in the forest sector. The release of these reports points to the more efficient functioning of the project in support of forest law enforcement and shows the commitment of the Cameroon government to improving governance in the forest sector. However, some reports detail significant cases of illegal logging that have been known to MINEF for more than a year but were not followed by any significant action.

Global Witness’ relationship with the government has not always been easy but as the difficult and sometimes confrontational work continues more serious legal and administrative sanctions are being imposed on some of the companies logging illegally.

A number of Cameroonian as well as internationally based logging companies have been sanctioned or are involved in ongoing legal cases brought by the MINEF. Some of these cases result from the documentation of illegal logging by Ministry staff supported by Global Witness.

Points to Note

Field Investigation Reports released on 31/01/2003: Report No’s 013 – 026
All Reports are currently in French and can be found at:
http://www.globalwitness.org/projects/cameroon/field_reports.php (Link Broken, Please Check)
– English translations will be provided as soon as possible.

Contacts:

Stuart Wilson, Cameroon Project Supervisor
Global Witness Ltd. London Office
Tel: Mobile: 07870 240 372
Office: ++ 44 (0) 20 7272 6731
Fax: ++ 44 (0) 20 7272 9425
Email: [email protected]ness.org