Quantifying local community voices in the decision-making process: insights from the Mount Cameroon National Park REDD+ project

Robert Marchant, Nvenakeng Suzanne Awung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One key component in community development is the ability to negotiate and make contentious environmental decisions that have sustainable environmental and livelihoods benefits. This study examines the community voice during the consultation and decision-making process to evaluate if the inclusion of community delegates is meant to legitimise REDD+ or leads to community development. Likert-scale questionnaire, focus-group discussions and interviews were used to collect data from 259 respondents located in 12 villages around Mount Cameroon National Park (MCNP). Results show that the level of local participation in the MCNP-REDD+ project directly relates to both standing and influence granted to the local stakeholders. Although MCNP managers understood community concerns, these concerns are not being addressed. Local community delegates are granted access to discussion forums, but they are not influencing the decision-making process or the design of REDD+ within MCNP. The voice of all stakeholders must be heard to ensure equitable development and socio-environmental legitimacy of projects. A decision-making process that is transparent and familiar to local communities will enhance their confidence to engage in debates as equal stakeholders and ensure that decisions reflect community consent. Capacity building in the decision-making process will empower the community to efficiently engage in consultation, dialogue and transparent forest management decisions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-252
Number of pages18
JournalEnvironmental Sociology
Issue number2
Early online date13 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2018


  • Communication
  • environmental legitimacy
  • social justice
  • social safeguards

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