Thinking beyond the canopy

Legal and institutional reforms in the forestry sector of Central Africa since the Rio Summit: Successes, challenges and future perspectives

Focal Point: Richard Eba’a Atyi
Organisation(s): CIFOR
Contact details: CIFOR, P.O. Box: 2008, Yaoundé, Cameroon. Tel.: +237 22 22 74 51; Email:


The emergence of the paradigm of sustainable forest management in the 1990s led central African countries to set new objectives in their forest management with innovative instruments and institutions. Because of this, new institutions have been created with new forest laws enacted. However, the critical issues of mismanagement and poor governance in the forest sector remain a real concern. Often, different sectorial laws are made independently and, sometimes, contradict one another. Currently, there are ongoing debates about the robustness of the existing laws in achieving the expected goals in the evolving context of forest management.

Key questions the panel will address

  1. Were the existing central African countries’ forest laws appropriately designed to meet the objectives of a sustainable forest management?
  2. How do we deal with the constantly evolving context of forest law reforms in central African countries?
  3. What are the challenges facing effective and efficient implementation of forest laws in Central Africa?


  1. Ngole Philip Ngwese, Cameroon Minister of Forestry and Wildlife
  2. Henri Djombo, Minister of Sustainable Development, Forestry Economy and Environment, Republic of Congo
  3. Simon Rietbergen, Senior Forestry Specialist, World Bank
  4. Michel Pré, Cooperation Française (To Be Confirmed)
  5. Ambassador Raul Mateus Paula, Head of Delegation of the European Union to Cameroon (To Be Confirmed)
  6. Moderator: Andrew Wardell, Research Director, CIFOR

Background reading

  1. Karsenty A and Fournier. 2008. L’Etat défaillant: Le secteur forestier en Afrique centrale. Monde en développement. (3):143.
  2. de Wasseige C, de Marcken P, Bayol N, Hiol Hiol F and Mayaux Ph, Desclée B, Nasi R, Billand A, Defourny P and Eba’a Atyi R. (eds) 2012. Les forêts du bassin du Congo - Etat des Forêts 2010. Luxembourg: Office des publications de l’Union Européenne. 276. doi:10.2788/48830.
  3. German Laura A, Karsenty A and Tiani AM. (eds) 2010. Gouverner les forêts africaines à l’ère de la mondialisation. Bogor, Indonesia: CIFOR.