Struggle to Economize Future Environment
Struggle to Economize Future Environment (SEFE) is part of Synchronicity Earth’s Congo Basin Programme, and works to mobilise indigenous groups against harmful industrial activity in Southwest Cameroon.
When Korup National Park in Cameroon was created in the 1990s one local, Nasako Besingi, identified a major gap in the protection of the parks mangroves – the Rey Estuary in Cameroon and Nigeria is home to half of Cameroon’s mangroves. In response, he established SEFE to improve awareness and protection of the mangroves. In 1998, SEFE proposed that the area should receive official protection, to the government. In 2010, it was declared a wetland site of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
SEFE later turned its attention to oil palm when they heard that SGSOC (a subsidiary of US company Herakles Farm) were proposing a plantation between two protected areas: Rumpi Hills Forest Reserve and Korup National Park. Aware that monoculture oil palm plantations were driving deforestation and degradation of traditional agriculture, they felt strongly that these areas should be no-go areas for oil palm plantations. SEFE have worked hard to bring attention to the issues through community engagement, as well as pushing for proper Social Impact Assessments and Free Prior Informed Consent. Because of their work and the work of others, the company has reduced its proposed plans, but SEFE continue to fight to protect the biodiversity and communities that will be impacted.