Learning from NES Cameroon. Good Practices from a Multi-Stakeholder Platform
NES Cameroon has a structure that guarantees effective decision-making and task distribution within the multistakeholder platform. It features a NES Secretariat, and three bodies: 1) a National Platform, bringing together all NES stakeholders in the country; 2) a Steering Committee of ten members in charge of political decisions and of budget and action plan approval; 3) a Civil Society Working Group on Land Reform - composed of nine experts selected after a call for applications - which supports the NES Secretariat on technical issues. These bodies hold regular meetings throughout the year. NES stakeholders also get together in “NES corners” - ad hoc spaces at the margin of non-NES (but NES-relevant) events.
Since its creation, NES Cameroon has produced two position papers, summarising NES stakeholders’ position on land governance. The first one was the outcome of the NES inception meeting. The production of second one was encouraged in 2011 by the NES Secretariat, due to the usefulness of this tool, particularly in discussion and negotiation with the government. This paper showed that numerous stakeholders could speak with a single voice. It brought together the inputs submitted by all the CSOs that responded to a call for documents launched by the NES and validated - in the final combined form - by all contributors. Before this, CSOs would often be in competition with each other - addressing the government with policy proposals of variable nature and standard, proposing conflicting recommendations and submitting documents to different government departments with uncertain outcomes. The production of a unified position paper benefitted CSOs, consolidated the NES and increased the effectiveness of the requests presented to the government.