In addition, the Platform provides information on types of land cover, carbon stocks and biodiversity. The mapping exercise has highlighted previously unrecognised biodiversity hotspots of high conservation value.
Gathering information to inform land-use planning is no easy task, and requires coordination among many different organisations and institutions that have the data. To bring all the information together, the voluntary project partners built an alliance of government ministries, international and national NGOs, research institutions and project implementers in Cameroon.
The project has brought together different stakeholder groups through the process of building the technical mapping tool. This has enabled constructive and non-adversarial discussions on land-use planning at the local level. It has also broken new ground on a number of fronts. For the first time, the government is involved in a process that takes into account customary rights in land-use planning. In another first, the government has agreed with local stakeholders to move ahead with a formal participatory local land-use planning process in 2016. The Common Mapping Platform project is also enabling the government to develop experience and capacity in administering land-use planning laws that reconcile the various interests in a balanced, informed and participatory way.
If successful, the Platform will be fully developed and the model could then be expanded to other municipalities that face difficulties in reconciling different land-use projects. The partners are keen to build upon and expand the work, and have drafted plans on how to enhance land-use planning capacity and methodologies and forge new partnerships at different governance scales across Cameroon.