Indigenous Peoples’ Right to Participation and the Cameroon Forestry Regulations

Research output: Contribution to conference (unpublished)Abstract


The notion of participation is one that is not easy to define, with different but rather complementary meanings. Depending on the circumstances, it can mean (a) the right to make decisions about development action that affect individuals and local communities; (b) the process whereby local communities and individuals take part in defining their own needs and coming up with solutions to meet those needs; or (c) can refer to situations in which local communities share in the benefits from development projects or policies and are fully involved in generating those benefits. The fundamental point here is that, the people need to be put first and their consent sort in all matters that affect them. This right to participation is reflected in a number of international legally binding and non-binding instruments including those specifically aimed at the protection of the rights of indigenous people. Although not being a signatory to the some of the instruments e.g. ILO Conventions Nos. 107 and 169, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Rio Declaration, implying that their provisions are not yet legal rights capable of judicial enforcement on Cameroon, it is argued that they are politically binding on the country. Nonetheless, Cameroon through various forestry regulations has sort to meet this obligation with regards to the indigenous Pygmy populations. This paper examines the differing meanings of participation and under these different meanings, assesses the extent to which the forestry regulations address this requirement in the forest management process.

Keywords: Participation, Indigenous rights, Forest management, Pygmies
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - Mar 2013


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