Sustainable forest management practice in Central African States and customary law

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Sustainable forest management (SFM) has become a major focus for the international community. This is because of the multifunctional importance of forest resources for the entire planet, namely ecological, socio-economic, cultural and climatic balance. General awareness of forest importance unfortunately coincides with the observed increase in threats, especially anthropogenic, to this world heritage. To tackle the continuing deforestation and degradation, the international community, through the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) and its predecessors, has attempted to adopt an international convention on SFM based on the 15 Rio Declaration principles. The limited success of international negotiations aimed at the adoption of such an instrument leads us to seek an alternative within international law theories, through analysis of the relationship between states practice in SFM and customary international law. To this end, this paper focuses on the practice of Central African States in sustainable forest management, especially statement of principles, sub-regional treaty and domestic legislation. The analysis shows that their practice fulfils all the requirements in order to be regarded as regional custom. Therefore, principles and state practices of SFM can thus be considered legally binding for this sub-region, despite some major implementation shortcomings

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