Natural resource issues
Gabon is a country rich in natural resources, including oil, manganese, iron ore and, of course, forests. The management of the country’s rich resources is, however, suffering from the lack of a clear policy on how land is allocated. As a result, there is overlap in the use of the land by the different sectors (mining, logging, agriculture, palm oil). As it stands, the profitability of the exploitation of natural resources and the corruption of the administration mean that there is little willingness to change. A land allocation plan is in process, but it has these hurdles to overcome.
Civil society in Gabon and its challenges
Gabon has a history of restricted political space, and it is within this climate that civil society operates. Civil society organisations are perceived by the government and industry as troublemakers. The scene is dominated by a few civil society organisations that have more capacity and have therefore attracted the majority of financing from donors. One of the challenges Gabonese civil society faces is to avoid reinforcing this funding trend in order to diversify and strengthen civil society’s voice.
Well Grounded in Gabon
Well Grounded has in the past provided support to Gabonese civil society organisation Brainforest, as well as a few others that are members of the Gestion Durable des Ressources Naturelles et l’Environnement platform. Currently, Well Grounded is keeping abreast of developments in the country, but is not actively engaged.