Almost half of Cameroon is forested – approximately 20 million hectares in total. Naturally with such resources available, commercial logging is commonplace and permitted under a variety of legal titles. Naturally again with such abundant forests, illegal activities have also long been commonplace including timber harvesting, tax evasion, infringement of the rights of forest communities and political and administrative corruption.
The European Union (EU), which imports timber from Cameroon and other tropical countries, has attempted to tackle illegal logging right where it occurs by signing Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) with exporting countries, including a VPA with the government of Cameroon in May 2010. This agreement entered into force in December 2011. Like all VPAs, the agreement is called "voluntary" because countries voluntarily choose to sign an agreement with the EU. Once signed, it is of cause binding to both parties, like any formal agreement between states. Sadly, many Cameroonian officials seemingly fail to grasp this.