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  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: August 2009

17 - Managing Land Use and Environmental Conflicts in Cameroon


One of the most widespread contemporary problems is the failure of states to recognize the existence of indigenous land use, occupancy and ownership, and the failure to accord appropriate legal status and legal rights to protect that use, occupancy or ownership.

Erica-Irene Daes. 2001


Cameroon's historical past accounts for the unique legal culture it has today. It is the only bijural African country. This is because of the coexistence of French civil law and English Common Law in the postcolonial period. However, attempts were made after the 1972 reunification to codify the laws in certain areas including land law.

Land remains a basic environmental asset in Cameroon as well as in other developing countries in the world. The rural poor who form the bulk of the Cameroonian population are principally agrarian. The government itself depends basically on the export of primary products to gain foreign currency. The growing urban areas, institutions, and other corporate bodies need land for various uses. Land is cherished as a means of production of crops, livestock, and forest yields; as a source of power; as a representation of culture; and as nature itself given its role in other life-supporting factors.

With increasing population and competing needs for land by different stakeholders, land is increasingly perceived as being under pressure. Consequently, satisfying the desire among many users to attain a clearer and assured right to control and access land resources becomes imperative.

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