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Exporting Corruption

Data - Exporting Corruption

From forest floor to government

A logging worker is measuring a tree trunk, while a man is filming him with his smartphone.

Illustration: Magdalena Michalka © Transparency International

Illegal logging is big business in Cameroon. Forty per cent of the country is covered by rainforest, but the illicit timber trade places unsustainable pressure on the ecosystem and its communities – who see few benefits from logging.

In response, Transparency International Cameroon works with civil society partners to help local people monitor illegal logging and pass their findings to timber companies and Cameroon’s Forestry Ministry. Our partner FODER runs a scheme which trains forest communities to report illegal logging to local NGOs. Their members verify the findings, gather evidence and write an investigative report, which they send to the logging company involved. If they receive no response within 14 days, they write to the Minister of Forestry. After a month, if there has been no reply, Transparency International Cameroon contacts the authorities, with whom we work closely on climate change projects, to press for action.

As a result, officials have seized illegally cut logs and initiated legal proceedings. The process creates a powerful upwards cascade, enabling forest communities to act to protect the environment they depend on.