In most cases, gender neglect in natural resources in the North West Province of Cameroon has resulted in sustained conflict between resource managers and users. This in turn has led to the failure of well-intentioned efforts towards sustainable management. This paper highlights the need for a gendered approach to natural resource planning and management which includes both men and women. It examines the relationship between human activities and natural resource degradation, and brings to the fore the gender profile of all those who own, access, and benefit from the exploitation of water and forest resources, as well as non-timber forest products, under existing customary and national policies. The paper argues that given the current traditional gender role practices and division of labour in the province, women are critical both as agents and as victims of natural resource exploitation and management. Gender mainstreaming constitutes a fulcrum for development planning and an entry point for successful management of natural resources in developing countries.

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