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The Legal Guarantee of National Ownership of REDD+: Implications for Climate Change Mitigation and Socio-Economic Development in Cameroon

Gideon Fosoh Ngwome


Evidence on the ground shows that climate change has evolved from being an environmental problem to a sustainable development (SD) challenge. REDD+ – a key mechanism designed primarily to mitigate climate change by reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, has expanded in scope to serve as a potential lever for socio-economic development in developing countries. Drawing on existing primary and secondary data, this article finds that there is little evidence of meaningful national ownership of REDD+ implementation in Cameroon. Arguing that weak national ownership threatens to undermine the country’s climate mitigation and SD objectives, the article provides an analysis into the reasons behind this lack of national ownership, including: a lack of compliance with international guidelines for national ownership of REDD+ implementation; lack of horizontal transfer of technology necessary for REDD+ implementation; lack of national budgetary allocation and reliance on conditional external funding that appears to frustrate proper national ownership; and a poor representation and involvement of some crucial national SD actors who continue to play very peripheral roles in REDD+ implementation. The article finds that strong and meaningful national ownership is a key prerequisite in order for REDD+ to effectively contribute to climate mitigation and socio-economic development in Cameroon. For this to happen, the government needs to implement and enforce international guidelines for national ownership of REDD+ implementation, for example through a regulatory enactment which unambiguously guarantees national ownership and its proper implementation on the ground.


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