Country Profiles

Cameroon - Country Profile

Biodiversity Facts

Status and trends of biodiversity, including benefits from biodiversity and ecosystem services

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

The key economic sectors in Cameroon driven by biodiversity resources are agriculture, forestry, fisheries, livestock and tourism. Agriculture accounts for 19.7% of the Gross Domestic Product and employs over 50% of the country’s workforce. The livestock sector provides food products for daily consumption and income for the population, with production levels rising steadily. Artisanal fishing constitutes the main activity of riparian communities. The forestry sector in Cameroon represents more than 15,000 direct jobs and 170,000 indirect jobs. Today, Cameroon is promoting ecotourism in protected areas which has important potential to engage local communities and provide benefits derived from these activities to them.

The trend is generally positive with respect to the state of Cameroon’s forests. Between 2006 and 2011, the surface of the permanent forest estate increased by 3%. Notably, during this same period, the extent of protected areas increased by 8% due to the creation of 10 new national parks bringing the total protected areas coverage to 16% (7.4 million hectares) of the national territory. In terms of inland waters, including Ramsar sites, close to 20% of such zones are under some form of protection. The trend is also generally positive concerning knowledge about taxonomic groups, yet negative in regard to the proportion of species threatened with extinction on a global scale. In the latter regard, according to the IUCN Red List (2013), this applies to 38 mammal species, 25 bird species, 55 amphibian species, 112 fish species, 5 reptile species, 11 mollusk species and 14 invertebrate species.

Rural development and industrialization in the country are driven by sectors that rely heavily on the exploitation of biodiversity products. In 2011, a total of 494 titles were issued for mining and oil activities which resulted in total deforestation at sites of operation.

Main pressures on and drivers of change to biodiversity (direct and indirect)

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Direct drivers of biodiversity loss are identified as: ecosystem degradation, unsustainable resource exploitation (e.g. itinerant slash-and-burn agriculture, poaching of large mammals); an economic system that is reliant on natural resources; land use changes (forest conversion); among others. Drivers of change at the ecosystem level differ according to biodiversity products and sometimes also according to ecological conditions. Indirect drivers are linked to economic, social and cultural factors (e.g. increasing demographic pressures and urbanization, poverty) and to weak institutional responses resulting from a lack of financial resources to enable progress on issues, including the establishment of indicators for sustainably managing biodiversity and mechanisms to mitigate or combat biodiversity loss.

Measures to Enhance Implementation of the Convention

Implementation of the NBSAP

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Cameroon revised and updated its NBSAP in 2012. Its first NBSAP was completed in 2000 however was not implemented due to various constraints. The current NBSAP proposes a new policy orientation to reverse and halt the current trend in biodiversity loss as a way to establish a strong nature base that is indispensable for the country’s socioeconomic growth. Of importance is Cameroon’s 2035 vision for growth and development and its priority orientations, defined within the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper (GESP) which provides development options to boost key production sectors that are largely dependent on biodiversity (the document highlights activities that are unsustainable within each of these sectors and their negative impacts on biodiversity). NBSAP II will be implemented through to 2020 and contains 4 strategic goals, 20 national-level targets and 10 ecosystem-specific targets, priority actions, timeframes for action, performance indicators and actors/organizations responsible for implementation. Cameroon’s targets to 2020 can be viewed at: The new NBSAP has been prepared with consideration given to the framework provided by the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets. A monitoring and evaluation framework has been conceived as well. In addition, NBSAP II provides an orientation for the subsequent development of a Capacity Development Plan, CEPA Plan and a Resource Mobilization Plan for its implementation.

Actions taken to achieve the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Examples of actions taken are provided below (this information is not exhaustive).

Populations are increasingly more aware of the values of biodiversity, such as those of non-timber forest products also known as “special products”. Such products include Penja pepper and Oku honey that have received certificates of registration, geographical indicators, intellectual property titles to protect and promote them. These products are sold at competitive prices, both domestically and internationally, and are stimulating development by improving the incomes of producers. This biodiversity data has been effectively integrated into the national accounts of the Ministry of Forests and Fauna. From 2010 to 2013, the State collected more than 540 million CFA Francs in taxes (regeneration) for special products. Other sectoral ministries have effectively integrated biodiversity data into their accounts.

With respect to traditional knowledge, “Traditional African Medicine Day” is held each year. In 2010, it was organized under the theme of conservation of medicinal plants, with exhibits and a roundtable discussion organized to draw attention to the loss of biodiversity and the need for the sustainable management of plants and ecosystems.

Cameroon’s REDD+ Strategy is still in draft form. To contribute to the Readiness Preparation Proposal, a feasibility study is currently being carried out in the Takamanda-Mone landscape in the southwestern part of the country to collect detailed information on current drivers and underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation, and to evaluate the different options for land uses, including REDD+ activities, that can contribute to local development, biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation.

Support mechanisms for national implementation (legislation, funding, capacity-building, coordination, mainstreaming, etc.)

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Today, as a result of efforts taken towards the conservation of Cameroon’s genetic resources for agriculture, basic and pre-basic seeds of the main cultivated species are available. Funding has also been made available for the community management of forest resources.

A number of documents have been developed on the sustainable harvest and regeneration of woody species. In addition, management plans for 8 protected areas have been developed and are being enforced. Furthermore, management plans for flagship species have been developed and are being updated for some species (e.g. elephant, large monkey). Ten protected areas now possess an ecological monitoring system and 7 forest societies (covering an area of 902,829 hectares) have been awarded certification.

Although Cameroon has not yet ratified the Nagoya Protocol on ABS, its enforcement has nonetheless begun. An ABS Strategy was developed in 2012 and an Action Plan is currently in development (the main results of this process pertain to local community management of fauna resources and protected areas). In the meantime, the Forestry Law is being enforced to assure the sharing of benefits.

With the exception of biodiversity mainstreaming in the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper (GESP), the level of mainstreaming in other relevant sectoral strategies and action plans to date has been weak, though texts adopted by the CBD COP have been mainstreamed in the country’s arsenal of legal and administrative documents.

Between 2007 and 2013, numerous publications on threats and mitigation measures regarding Cameroon’s vertebrates, aquatic invertebrates, vascular plant species and mushrooms were published. The visibility of Cameroon’s biodiversity is being increased through information and communication technologies, such as the CamBIF Portal and the National CHM.

Actions taken for biodiversity have identified synergies among international treaties (e.g. UNFCCC, UNCCD, CITES, RAMSAR). Biodiversity considerations in international and transboundary cooperation, including South-South cooperation, are concretized in the activities of the Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC) and its Working Group on Biodiversity in Central Africa (GTBAC).

Between 2011 and 2013, a total of 20 normative texts (decrees and orders) were adopted. Examples include the 2013 decree laying out procedures for environmental and social impact assessment and the 2012 legislative order on the creation, organization and operationalization of the National Biosafety Committee. Also, in 2012, the role of the Ministry of Environment and Nature Protection (MINEP) was expanded by decree to recognize the ministry’s role in sustainable development, thus the ministry is now known as the Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED).

A program to monitor, control and sustainable manage fishing activities in mangrove areas in Cameroon was developed in 2009, along with a program to monitor socioeconomic aspects to ensure the sustainable management of these areas.

Mechanisms for monitoring and reviewing implementation

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Performance indicators have been set to measure the status of NBSAP implementation.