Accepted paper:

Environment impact assessment: the story of a failed project

Authors:

Paul Nchoji Nkwi (Catholic University of Cameroon)

Paper short abstract:

In the 1990s against the background of an endemic economic crisis that plagued Cameroon, the World Bank through Global Environmental Facility (GEF) embarked on a project designed to protect 12 pristine forest ecosystems with a high degree of biodiversity. A team of experts including two anthropologists examined the human and cultural components. After six months of intensive research, a report produced highlighted the potential depletion of vast natural resource. The need to design mitigation plans to address the negative effects was endorsed by the World Bank and strongly approved by the Cameroon government but 15 years later, each and every recommendation has been systematically ignored by logging companies whose unholy alliance with government officials have turn one of the biodiversity paradises into a free zone for all. The participatory approach designed to involve the Baka Pygmies that have known, used and exploited or manage it in accordance with their customs and traditions have been thrown out and logging companies have taken over. What a tragedy!

Paper long abstract:

In the 1990s against the background of an endemic economic crisis that plagued Cameroon, the World Bank through Global Environmental Facility (GEF) embarked on a project designed to protect 12 pristine forest ecosystems with a high degree of biodiversity. A team of experts including two anthropologists examined the human and cultural components. After six months of intensive research, a report produced highlighted the potential depletion of vast natural resource. The need to design mitigation plans to address the negative effects was endorsed by the World Bank and strongly approved by the Cameroon government but 15 years later, each and every recommendation has been systematically ignored by logging companies whose unholy alliance with government officials have turn one of the biodiversity paradises into a free zone for all. The participatory approach designed to involve the Baka Pygmies that have known, used and exploited or manage it in accordance with their customs and traditions have been thrown out and logging companies have taken over. What a tragedy!

panel PE43
Averting a global environmental collapse: the role of anthropology and local knowledge (WCAA panel)