Gabon is located on the west coast of Central Africa
26.8 million hectares
Area of forest cover:
Around 20 million hectares (more than 80% of the country)
What are the main threats to /issues relating to forest communities and lands in this country?
- Forest communities and indigenous peoples are not politically represented so they don’t participate in the decision-making process their lives depend on.
- All land belongs to the State, customary land tenure is not recognised and customary law is not clearly legally defined.
- The forest is being considered for new investments in mining (iron), oil, agriculture (palm, rubber), dams and associated infrastructure projects development (building of roads). This has a major impact on forest and indigenous peoples communities, giving them limited access to the land they depend on.
- The forestry sector is the second source of national revenue in Gabon, so the Gabonese government regard the exploitation of timber as central to economic development. This has caused logging activity increase. Communities do not benefit from forest exploitation revenues and they are given no right to FPIC or resource management.
- The creation of the 13 National Parks has significantly reduced the access of the communities to their traditional lands. This limits their rights to food security (most still hunter/gatherers), freedom of movement (especially semi-nomadic peoples) and preservation of cultural identity (access to traditional lands).
- Gabon is a country with a high concentration of power and a high level of corruption related to land and natural resources exploitation. As a result it is hard to get transparency from governmental agenda, build on policy and support the communities.
- Indigenous peoples in Gabon are not seen as specific group of people and they don’t have recognised specific rights despite that it is proven their vulnerability is even higher given their lives depend of land and natural resources use and access
What are the main objectives of our work in this country?
- To improve forest governance through improved recognition of rights of forest communities
- To contribute to poverty reduction through legal and rights capacity building
- To improve the participation of indigenous peoples and forest communities and the CSOs in the governance of land and natural resources