“Policy Harmonization” Mobilizes Partners on a Round Table Discussion, organized by the Canadian Cooperation in Yaounde (Promote 2011)
During the working session, the best practices in policy harmonization were shared and capitalized, challenges and opportunities related to policy harmonization identified, strategies for a better implication of the civil society and the private sector, as well as communication strategies for a better harmonization proposed.
Yaounde (Cameroon), December 8, 2011- Holding at the Conference Centre and alongside of Promote 2011, a parallel session animated by the CBFP Facilitation, under the high patronage of the Canadian High Commissioner on the theme: “Harmonisation of Forest and Tax Policies in Central Africa: Challenges and Perspectives” The session gathered over forty participants representing COMIFAC, MINFOF, researchers, national and international institutions and organizations.
The overall objective of the session was to contribute to the sustainable management of forest ecosystems to biodiversity conservation in the Congo Basin through a better harmonization of policies and programs to the benefit of communities. It specifically referred to : (1) Encouraging and promoting the harmonization and application of laws, forest and tax policies in the sub-region; (2) Contributing to highlight the challenges and opportunities related to the harmonization of forest and tax policies; (3) Reinforcing the implication of the civil society and the private sector in policy harmonization in Central Africa; (4) Reinforcing the integration of gender-related issues in forest and tax policies; (5) Identifying and capitalizing strategies for a better communication on forest and tax policies in order to reinforce their harmonization.
The round table conference opening ceremony was heighten by the effective presence of the Canadian High Commissioner in Cameroon, H.E. Benoit Pierre Laramée, and COMIFAC Administrative and Financial Director representing COMIFAC Executive Secretary, Mr. Etienne Masumbuko. In his speech, H.E Benoit Pierre Laramée underlined that, addressing the issue of policy harmonization at regional level from Cameroon is very timely, for this is in line with Canada’s current strategy aimed at supporting Cameroon in the reinforcement of her leadership position at regional level in forest and environmental matters. This helps to capitalize her numerous achievements and progress in terms of natural resource management within the framework of the Forest and Environment Sector Programme (PSFE). In terms of tax and fallouts for the local population, the Canadian High Commissioner stressed that it is convenient, in the current context, to strike a smooth balance by promoting a taxation system that will enable the State and other actors to benefit from forest fallouts, while ensuring pressure on the resource does not lead to its extinction in the short term; this would be against sustainable management principles. Thus, policy harmonization should be oriented towards the wellbeing of local communities, the real beneficiaries, while ensuring the three aspects of sustainability (economic, social and environmental).
After the opening ceremony, participants listened and actively discussed on exposés divided into two sessions, in the effective presence of MINFOF Inspector no 1, Mr. Mbia and ANAFOR deputy Director, Mr Barga. The first session on forest and tax policies recorded 3 exposés namely: (1) Harmonisation of Forest and Tax Policies and Traceability Systems in Central Africa by Roger Foteu, FAO-COMIFAC Project Coordinator; (2) The Different Forest Taxes and their Effectiveness on the Field by Henri Tejona, Securing Forest Revenues; (3) Reinforcing Dialogue on Forest and Tax Policies in the Congo Basin or else Forestry and Tax Policy Harmonisation- an Integrated Framework for Participative Planning - Evolution of the Role of the Civil Society; Experience of the Last 10 Years, by Pierre Chekem, Coordinator of Partnership Cameroon The second session about communication on policies, in 4 exposés namely: (1) Gender and Harmonisation of Policies in Central Africa by Julienne TSANGUEU-SEPPOU, Gender Consultant ; (2) Role of Forest Policy Network (REPOFBAC) in the Harmonisation of Policies in Central Africa and the Three Tropical Forest Basins by Jeanne Marie Mindja, Director of GRAMUE, Assistant Coordinator of REFADD; (3) COMIFAC Communication Network System – an ICT Strategy at the Service for Implementing the Convergence Plan by Jérome Guefack, ICT expert, PACEBCo, and Médard MAVOUNGOU, COMIFAC Communication Expert; (4) Environmental Communication and Partnerships: Case of Radio Environment with ReRac by MOUZONG Eva, Director Radio Environment UICN.
After deliberations, the best practices in policy harmonization were shared and capitalized, challenges and opportunities identified, and strategies for a better implication of the civil society and the private sector, as well as communication strategies for better policy harmonization, proposed. This session helped to resume discussions on the relevance of boosting the think-tank on forest policy in the Congo Basin and promoting trade between the 3 tropical forest Basins.
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