Indigenous Peoples’ Access to and Participation in Lobéké National Park

February 26, 2022|Forest Peoples Programme

Tucked in the southeastern corner of Cameroon, Lobéké National Park protects a segment of the Congo Basin home to one of the highest densities of western lowland gorillas, alongside chimpanzees and other endangered species. But Western models of conservation in this important landscape have come into conflict with the rights of the Baka people indigenous to the region. A report from Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) evaluates the effectiveness of arrangements to allow Baka communities access to their traditional lands, while investigating these communities’ understanding of park management arrangements and their perspectives on future co-management.

The report reveals that, despite a landmark 2019 agreement between the Cameroonian government and a body representing the Baka communities surrounding the park, these communities have not experienced any significant improvements in their ability to access park lands. Moreover, despite prolonged lack of access to these lands limiting Baka practice of various traditional activities, these communities continue to express strong commitment to conserving the forest and its ecosystems.