PSMNR-SWR PHASE I
The quest for development areas and the potential for cash crop farming within the South West Region has increased the demand for surface area and with this unsustainable use of natural resources. As a result, both the region’s natural resources and local population face a host of challenges – including deforestation, rural poverty, degradation of rich ecosystems and services.
To tackle these issues, the Government of Cameroon with financial assistance from the Federal Republic of Germany through the German Development Bank (KFW), in collaboration with the German TechnicalCooperation (GTZ) and the German Development Service (DED) initiated PSMNR-SWR in 2006.
PSMNR-SWR has been conceived as reaction to the unsustainable land use and illegal natural resource exploitation threatening the future of high value ecosystems and wellbeing of the people in the South West Region of Cameroon.
Between 2006 and 2010, PSMNR-SWR was instrumental in supporting MINFOF in sustainable management of forest and wildlife resources in the South West Region of Cameroon. Interventions were set up around five interdependent results, each being supported by a specific PSMNR-SWR partner (German Cooperation Agencies and international NGOs) and the coordination being assured by MINFOF through its Regional Delegation for the South West. Resources were mobilized to support the gazetting and management of national parks as well as village development measures that would improve on the livelihoods of the communities in the peripheral of parks; council and community forests were gazetted and three Technical Operations Units were created.
However, at the end of this phase, main lessons learnt were;
- Capitalise existing experiences and monitor social, economic and ecological impact of all results that were achieved
- Link and balance efforts in conservation and development and bring involved partners into a team approach
- Address development needs in a broader perspective (not only village based); more (social) infra-structure projects being the first priority of populations.
- Scale up successfully tested village development measures and infrastructure development to truly compensate for affected people’s reduced access to many natural resources
- Revive and empower community management structures (Village Forest Management Commit-tees) that allows for harvesting certain permitted forest products.
PSMNR-SWR PHASE II
The second phase of PSMNR-SWR which started in 2011 was initiated in order to consolidate the achievements of the first phase through the continuation of support to MINFOF RD in terms of financing, advisory services and capacity building.
The rural population close to protected areas is poor in terms of income and in terms of social in-frastructure (access roads, drinking water supply, health, education). This population is depending on forest resources for their livelihood and conservation measures have resulted and will result in income losses. The population does not benefit sufficiently from legal forms of management of forest resources on their own traditional land (National Parks, Forest Management Units, Commu-nity Forests, etc). Capacities of agricultural production and marketing are weak mainly due to lack-ing access roads for transport of inputs and outputs, and insufficient agricultural extension. All this leads to the participation of the rural population in poaching, illegal logging and agricultural en-croachment into permanent forests.
Hence, the core problem of degradation of high-value ecosystems in the South-West Region of Cameroon through uncoordinated and unsustainable use of natural resources still persists and justifies the importance of PSMNR-SWR intervention after Phase I came to an end. The underlying rationale of the programme – conservation of globally important forest ecosystems and endangered species and simultaneous socio-economic development of the population in neighbouring communities, whose livelihood depends largely on natural resources, remains highly relevant.This phase specifically is taking into consideration lesson learnt in the first phase with focus on three core areas of intervention namely: collaborative management of protected areas with surrounding villages; and sustainable production forest management and mediating land-use conflicts.
It is foreseen that this phase will face out in June 2017.