Further development of a common mapping platform and methodology for local land use planning in Cameroon

Deforestation in Cameroon is on the rise and is largely driven by expansion of agro-industry, slash and burn agriculture, logging, fuelwood demands, mining and infrastructure development. Competition for productive land in Cameroon has increased, notably with foreign companies seeking large tracts of land (10,000 hectares and above) for agricultural development.

The factors to be addressed during the land use planning process are complex. The EFI Common Mapping Platform (CMP) plays a central role in building commitment to a bottom up, participatory approach that brings together multiple stakeholders to foster a common understanding and agreement on land uses, institutions (rules) for future land management and activities necessary to achieve sustainable land management. It will also foster common understanding between relevant Ministries, regional delegations, civil society and private sector organisations around the data required, methodology and decision support tools to prepare local LUPs. Such an approach will meet both VGGT and REDD requirements, and ensure that it is supported by the higher levels of planning that identify and prioritise national planning targets to guide local decision making.

The common Mapping Platform (CMP) Phase 1 ran from May 2014 to Feb 2016. Under the leadership of the MINEPAT, a multi-stakeholder process was put in place involving a series of workshops with national, regional and local partners. With technical support provided by LTS and Rainbow Consult, the efforts in Phase 1 proved effective in supporting MINEPAT to build a coalition of partners. The coalition aims to develop a methodology for transparent and inclusive local Land Use Plans (LUPs), protocols for standard map layer preparation, and spatial planning tools that better address both social and environmental concerns. LUPs are a pre-requisite for responsible governance, land management, FLEGT and REDD+.

At the end of Phase 1, the MINEPAT expressly requested EFI support to further develop methods and tools for local land use planning and to test them in at least one municipality. This is an essential official endorsement of work done under Phase 1 and a necessary foundation for Phase 2.

CMP Phase 2 of the project is designed to continue EFI support to MINEPAT in implementing its 2011 LUP Law. Phase 2 builds on the foundation and successes of Phase 1 of the EFI Project and the joint initiative to develop a CMP (piloted by MINEPAT with support from EFI, LTS, WRI, RFUK, AJESH, etc.).

Spatial Planning for Sustainable Land Use Planning

The project will develop a land prioritisation tool for the Nguti district, which will allow ecological, social and economic values to be considered in unison when making land planning decisions, enabling a transparent and open decision process.

There has been limited experience of drafting land use plans in the region that can reconcile the various interests in land, in a balanced and negotiated manner, in particular in the context of the emerging REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) mechanism to valorise carbon stocks. As a result, European Forest Institute (EFI)’s REDD+ Facility identified the need for transparent spatial planning tool that better addresses both social and environmental concerns as a pre-requisite for the responsible implementation of REDD+.

This tool will facilitate the transparent sharing of information between multiple stakeholders to explore and discuss potential social, environmental and economic impacts of e.g. oil palm, but also compare such options with the potential offered by other agricultural commodities (such as cocoa, staple food crops for local markets, etc.) and other land uses, such as maintenance of high carbon stock forests for REDD+ projects.

The objective of this work is to “assemble and present new spatial information, balancing economic interests with social and environmental dimensions, for strategic and inclusive national discussion for more sustainable land use planning in the context of development of palm oil in Cameroon, using a methodology that can be extended to other forest-risk commodities and other countries in the region.”

The focus is thus on supporting better land use planning in preparation for new pressures on land (including e.g. oil palm development, other commodities, REDD+ projects, etc.). The approach will respond to the current interest of the Government to launch multi-sectoral land use planning in the context of the 2011 Orientation Law on Land Management & Sustainable Development.

The LTS team is advising EFI on tools to assist with spatial planning around land use decisions. LTS is responsible for the development of:

  • An interactive mapping tool to identify potential priority areas for development / protection
  • A field assessment protocol

Supporting the Implementation of FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement

The Government of Cameroon and the European Commission concluded negotiations of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) in May 2010 and the agreement was ratified in June 2011. LTS provided support to the implementation of the FLEGT VPA to build capacity of the Ministry of Forests and Wildlife (MINFOF) in the planning and monitoring the implementation of its Legality Assurance Systems (LAS). In 2012, the LTS team assisted the government of Cameroon to:

  • agree on responsibilities for different levels of LAS administration
  • support staff of the Department of Standards (SN) within the Ministry in project monitoring and tracking the implementation
  • assist the SN in the development of planning tools and monitoring the implementation of LAS
  • support the MINFOF with engaging stakeholders in the implementation of the verification system of law in the context of the VPA

LTS also reviewed and facilitated the development of verification procedures and trained LAS managers on the new VPA requirements.

Timber Tracking System

The timber tracking system is a component of the Voluntary Partnership Agreements developed by the European Union. It is set up to monitor harvested timber from origin (physical location of operations) to destination (port of export or processing plant) and also from destination to origin.

LTS was contracted by SGS Cameroon who implemented an EC funded project with the overall objective to study the needs and conditions for the implementation of the Timber Traceability System Cameroon (STBC) in its pilot phase.
Specific objectives were:

  • to review and validate standard operating procedures (SOP) system for the pilot phase with key project stakeholders;
  • to ensure and assure the compliance of systems and processes with the Cameroonian legal and regulatory framework as put into practice and prevailing for the pilot phase and, subsequently, in the context of SVL/LAS and FLEGT VPA;
  • to prepare for system tests at the pilot sites by performing an inventory on the ground in order to collect essential information and assess needs and conditions for the implementation of the pilot, including the acquisition of technical equipment for deployment and implementation of pilot activities to support requirements (training, communication, etc.);
  • to carry out field missions with teams of the MINFOF to the pilot sites for logging, processing plants, regional offices and departments and checkpoints;
  • to perform a gap analysis for the implementation of the tracking system
  • to facilitate the estimation of additional cost estimates and preparation of technical and financial proposals to insert the test of legality under the VPA SVL during the pilot phase
  • to ensure permanent liaison with the Department of Forests / MINFOF during the mission.

LTS provided the following services:

  • research and literature review;
  • review and validation of standard operating procedures (SOP) in collaboration with MINFOF, operators of the sector and other stakeholders;
  • study of the institutional MINFOF and its decentralized services [as far as possible not only in the pilot area];
  • study of forest control system [as far as possible not only in the pilot area];
    study of the stakeholders in the implementation of pilot system [as far as possible not only in the pilot area];
  • definition of legality tests to perform in accordance with the VPA SVL;
  • proposal to insert those tests during the pilot phase.

The outputs were:

  • a full mission report, including a list of documents collected as part of the mission, and contact list of people met
  • a report prepared in collaboration with MINFOF for field missions
  • the results of studies reviewed and validated by the SOPs
  • a financial proposal and timetable for implementing the tests of legality in the pilot area (submitted by the Consortium).

Lessons Learned from Support to Civil Society Organisations

Through its Civil Society Support Scheme, Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative has provided grants to over 40 civil society and research institutions to implement projects related to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) in developing countries. Projects range from primary research into technical aspects of REDD+, to policy advocacy and work on safeguards, to capacity building and REDD+ demonstrations.
The principle purpose of the evaluation was to determine whether the NICFI investment of over 650 million Norwegian kroner in support to civil society was on target to help the Initiative reach its overall climate and development goals.
The assignment involved the development of a Theory-Based Evaluation approach, Evaluation Framework, Survey Instruments and field work Indonesia, DRC, Cameroon, Peru and the USA.

The evaluation team found that projects were contributing to the development of an enabling environment for REDD+, were contributing to the development of national REDD+ strategies with a strong focus on social safeguards and the rights of Indigenous Peoples. In addition, projects were generating useful new knowledge and supporting local partners to become strong REDD+ actors in their own right.
The team recommended ways in which reporting systems and knowledge management processes might be improved. The NICFI management team rapidly adopted the principle recommendations of the evaluation and have initiated discussions on how best to address these issues with a view to improving internal systems and better capturing new knowledge generated by the projects.
Contact Philippa Lincoln for further details.
Download the report here.

Voluntary Partnership Agreement – Legality Assurance Systems and European Union Green Public Procurement

The 2003 EU FLEGT Action Plan aimed at tackling illegal logging and the trade in associated products, recognising the EU as a consumer of timber from regions where levels of illegality and poor governance in the forest sector are serious. A cornerstone of this Plan is the negotiation and implementation of Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPA): bilateral agreements between the EU and timber product exporting partner countries to trade only in legal wood. The VPA contains a Legality Assurance System (LAS), a mechanism that allows a FLEGT partner country to verify that timber produced has complied with all prescribed regulations. A LAS is based on the national legislation stipulating the economic, environmental and social regulatory framework for forest management, processing of timber and trade in timber products.

The objective of this assignment was to assess the extent to which the first FLEGT VPA and Legality Assurance System (LAS) designs (in Ghana, Cameroon, R.O. Congo and Indonesia) would, when implemented, meet the requirements of existing and planned EU Member State procurement policies for relevant product groups, and further outline the relationship of LAS and procurement policies in general.

Studying these first cases provided further understanding on the overall fit between the VPA and its associated LAS and the policies in the EU guiding the procurement of timber.

Evaluation of National Forest Monitoring and Assessment Programme & Country Projects

The importance of forestry related data and information at the national level is increasingly critical to decision making, sustainable forest management; reducing GHG emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD); land use planning policies and national socio-economic development. FAO’s National Forest Monitoring and Assessment (NFMA) Programme was established in 2000 in recognition that developing countries lacked institutionalised systems of national forest inventory and monitoring and currently works in 50 countries.

LTS undertook an evaluation in accordance with OECD criteria and assessed the utility and impact of the programme and, based on lessons learned, identified obstacles and opportunities for the future and made recommendations on how the NFMA Programme should develop for maximising its effects and adapting to new and evolving needs at national and international levels such as IPCC requirements for monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) under REDD regimes. The programme involved country evaluations of Cameroon, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Philippines and Zambia.

Real Time Evaluation of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative

Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) was launched during the climate change negotiations at Bali in December 2007, with commitments up to $500 million a year to support efforts that reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation and protect existing forest carbon stocks (REDD-plus) in developing countries to mitigate climate change. NICFI (i) works towards the inclusion of REDD+ in a new international climate regime; (ii) takes early action to achieve cost-effective and verifiable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions; and (ii) promotes the conservation of natural forests to maintain their carbon storage capacity.

LTS’s real-time evaluation services of NICFI provided to Norad’s Evaluation Department constituted approximately 11% of Norway’s aid budget, making demonstration of the value of this investment highly important. As NICFI is a complex evaluation object that operates at multiple scales, across more than 65 countries and through a multiple partners from civil society organisations to multilateral development banks, it has been necessary to build the opportunity of multi-way comparisons into our evaluation approach.

The LTS led consortium used cutting-edge methodological approaches to successively evaluate the progress of NICFI with regard to its objectives and the general objectives of Norwegian development cooperation, such as those related to livelihoods, economic and social development and the environment. The overall approach was guided by the OECD/DAC evaluation criteria. A range of theory based evaluation methods were applied: theories of change, outcome mapping, process tracing, portfolio analysis and case studies. These have relied on the use and development of a variety of mixed methods evaluation tools including quantitative surveys instruments; key informant interviews and content analysis.

LTS had the responsibility for strategic oversight, operational management and coordination of all key functions of the contract. LTS acted as the key interface with the Norad team and other stakeholders; managed the group of 35+ experts inputs; coordinated quality control of reports from experts; led and supported M&E processes at various levels; ensured effective contribution of Management Committee and Project Management and Core Team through effective work planning and review of progress with the respective team members; identified and recommended improvements in M&E processes; designed and applied evaluation methodology and data collection tools; facilitated exchanges experiences and identified improvements in support of drawing out lesson learned and best practice to inform NICFI; and presented evaluation findings in public hearings.

The evidence and results from the real-time evaluation services informed global debates around REDD+ and influenced a wider array of stakeholders: the Norwegian government (Ministry of the Environment and Ministry of Foreign Affairs); the Norwegian Parliament, institutions, organisations, and the general public in Norway; multilateral organisations engaged in REDD+ and climate change activities; the international community, in terms of spreading knowledge concerning the achievement of both REDD+ and sustainable development; and the national REDD+ initiatives in target countries.

The results for LTS’s evaluation work widely recognised as the most thorough and politically balanced evaluation: Minister of Climate and Environment, Norway “The most comprehensive evaluation that has ever been undertaken on a Norwegian funded development initiative”

Six large individual evaluations have been conducted to date and more information about these is available on the individual project pages:

    • Global Policy Evaluation
    • National REDD+ Strategies Evaluation
    • Civil Society Evaluation
    • Contributions to the development of an international REDD+ regime (global in scope, focus on international policy)
    • Contributions to the development of national REDD+ strategies (field data collection in Brazil, DRC, Guyana, Indonesia and Tanzania
    • Support to Civil Society (field data collection in Cameroon, DRC, Indonesia, Norway, Peru, UK, US)

ContactPhilippa Lincoln for further details.

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European Union Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Facility

LTS was involved in 5 frameworks agreements: Forest Governance; Capacity Building; Markets and Demand Side Measures; Legality Assurance Systems; and Monitoring Voluntary Partnerships Agreement (VPA) Impacts. The European Forest Institute’s EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Facility has been established to support the European Commission in implementing their Action Plan for FLEGT setting out a range of measures available to the European Union and its Member States to tackle illegal logging in the world’s forests.

Contributions to a Global REDD+ Regime 2007-2010

Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) seeks to influence the international climate policy process by adding momentum to finalising an international REDD+ agreement, contributing to the detail of the emerging mechanisms and establishing real examples through national-level agreements with key REDD+ relevant countries. Strands of influence include impact on climate negotiations; the support of bilateral and multilateral initiatives; support towards building the necessary institutional frameworks; and the development of a body of practices and methods by funding research and policy advocacy by a wide range of non-governmental organisations and research organisations. Between 2008 and 2010 approximately 3.4billion Norwegian kroner had been disbursed, primarily through bilateral / multi-bilateral partnerships of through multilateral channels
The scope of this evaluation was to assess the NICFI contribution to the development of an international REDD+ regime in the following areas:

  • The progress of negotiations on the REDD+ text within the processes of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC);
  • The internal formulation and communications of Norway’s policy objectives on REDD+ and their consistency with the actions within NICFI and broader climate policies;
  • The institutional framework being developed internationally as well as the Interim REDD+ Partnership;
  • The on-going negotiations on an agreement for the post-2012 climate change regime.

The team found that the NICFI contribution to the advancement of REDD+ within the international negotiations on a climate change agreement beyond 2012 has been substantial and it is unlikely that this section of the draft climate change agreement would have developed to its current form without the input of NICFI. However, the greatest overall risk to further progress is that a climate change agreement will not be achieved and the team recommended that NICFI consider what might happen in a situation of gradual evolution of a post 2012 regime. This recommendation is currently being acted upon by NICFI.

Contact Philippa Lincoln for further details.

Download the Report here.