Does forest decentralization strengthen women’s adaptive capacity to climate change? Insight from Cameroon

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Published on October 14, 2014

Author: CIFOR

Source: slideshare.net

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This presentation from the 2014 IUFRO World Congress focused on the impact of forest management decentralization on women in Cameroon.

1. Does forest decentralization strengthen women’s adaptive capacity to climate change? Insight from Cameroon A.M. Tiani*, R. Sufo, A.S. Pérez-Terán, E.L. Chia, Y. Bele and D. Sonwa THINKING beyond the canopy

2. THINKING beyond the canopy Introduction DECENTRALIZATION Vertical and horizontal participation, equity and democracy (Ribot, 2006 ; Larson, 2005) + local actors (Bigombe Logo 2001) + Increased disadvantaged social groups’ (women) adaptive capacity to CC (Brooks and Adger, 2005) 1. What is the reality 20 years later? 2. Has gender equity and adaptive capacity been enforced by decentralization? 3. What prospects? CAMEROON 1994 Forestry Law “forest decentralization transferred statutory rights, authority and responsibilities of managing a share of forests and forest revenues to local councils and communities”

3. THINKING beyond the canopy Objective Does decentralized forest management strengthen women’s adaptive capacity to climate change in Cameroon? 1. Gender dimensions in decentralized forest management policy in Cameroon 2. Women’s presence in the forest decentralized management structures 3. The effectiveness of women’s power by counting the number of strategic positions occupied by them in the forest management structures 4. Effects of women marginalization with subsequent impacts on their adaptive capacity to climate change

4. METHODS Research site: −Region: East (Cameroon) −Division: Boumba-et-Ngoko −4 Subdivisions/councils: Gari-Gombo, Moloundou, Salapoumbe, Yokadouma −Rich tropical forest −Land area: 30,389 km² −Population: 116,702 as of 2001 −4 council forests −35 community forests THINKING beyond the canopy Approach  Review of decentralized forest management policy documents (laws, reports, publications, etc.)  Interviews (local elites, traditional leaders, local administration representatives, NGO representatives, etc.)  Focus group discussions (men, women, NGO representatives

5. RESULTS 1: Gender dimensions in policy 1. These structures are managed by legal entities whose composition portrays the level of attention accorded to women 2. Only user-rights have been accorded to indigenous people in the specific case of council forests (law 94, article 30 (2)) 3. Nowhere in the new policy, women have been mentioned as a distinct social group Many structures are involved in the forest management at different levels THINKING beyond the canopy CAMEROON 1994 Forestry Law 3 basic mechanisms for decentralization council forests management c community forests management c annual forestry fees management committee State 50% Local council 40% Local communities 10%

6. RESULTS 2: Community forests: number of THINKING beyond the canopy women Subdivision Number of Community forests legalized Number of members in the management entity Number of women (n) Proportion of women (%) Ngari Gombo 1 11 0 0 Yokadouma 20 399 52 13% Moloundou 3 44 14* 32% Salapoumbé 0 0 0 0% Total 24 454 66 14,5%

7. RESULTS 2: Community forests: women’s position THINKING beyond the canopy

8. RESULTS 3: Council forest: number of women women representation at the council forest management committee THINKING beyond the canopy

9. RESULTS 3: Town Council : numbers, positions and trends for women’s representation Council 2007 2013 THINKING beyond the canopy Number of town councils Number of women Position occupied by women Number of town councils Number of women Position occupied by women Gari-Gombo 25 2 counselor 25 3 - Deputy mayor - 2 counselor Moloundou 25 0 na 25 2 - Deputy mayor - Counselor Salapoumbé 25 0 na 25 4 - Counselors Yokadouma 41 0 na 41 3 - Deputy mayor - 2 counselor Total (n) 116 2 116 12 Total (%) 1,7% 10,3%

10. RESULTS: SUMMARY Positions occupied by women are mostly animator, counselor and those related to treasury (treasurer, auditor) THINKING beyond the canopy

11. Consequences (1) THINKING beyond the canopy 1) Women needs and priorities neglected Example 1: In 2011, the Strategic committee at the Division level has decided to support the expansion of Cocoa farm in order to contribute to the fight against climate change and reduce poverty. Cocoa farms are men’s activities If given the chance, women would have asked for climate resilient agriculture 2) Adaptive capacity reduced  Women continue to rely on shifting agriculture and annual food crops, very sensitive to climate disturbances, therefore increasing their vulnerability to climate change. Photo: Merline Touko, Cameroon

12. Consequences (2) Conflicting interests on natural resources management are solved more often at the expense of women. Example 2: Moabi oil (Baillonnella toxisperma) and caterpilars trees (Triplochiton scheroxylon) are highly valuable trees for men (timber) and for women (NTFP). Although the sustainable harvesting by women, these trees are the first to be cut in the community forests. THINKING beyond the canopy

13. THINKING beyond the canopy But, there is hope!  In Cameroon, efforts are being made at various levels to push gender equity in the decentralisation agenda.  Recent electoral processes have increased the inclusion of women in different political parties aiming to manage local collectivities.  Recognition of women rigor on funds management.  More and more educated.  Decision makers are more and more aware that:  gender equity could help bring about gains in sustainability and can help ensure greater returns on investments in Millennium Development Goal achievement  Gender equity in forest management could strengthen women adaptive capacity and sustain household and community

14. Thank you www.cifor.org www.cifor.org/cobam THINKING beyond the canopy

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