By Yerima Kini Nsom
Ministers of the Organisation for Wildlife in Africa, OCFSA, have pledged to arrest the current upsurge of poaching on the continent.
They made the pledge during the extraordinary conference of the organisation that took place in Yaounde on June 15.
The conference came on the heels of an experts meeting tailored to fine-tune strategies which OCFSA, that is being revamped, will use to stem the rampaging tides of poaching in the continent.
It was equally preceded by the 15th meeting of the Congo Basin Forest Partners, CBFP, which held under the theme Credible and Integrated Institutions to Protect the Ecosystems and Promote Sustainable Management of Forests and Wildlife.
The occasion that took place at the Yaounde Conference Centre on June 15, also marked the 5th edition of the Central African Days for protected areas under the theme; ‘Governance and Management of Protected Areas: inspiring innovative and sustainable solutions.”
While opening the occasion, the Cameroonian Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, Philip Ngole Ngwese, expressed worries that pressure by demographic growth, poaching and unregulated and illegal timber exploitation constitute the bane to wildlife preservation in Central African States.
He urged experts to propose new strategies that OCFSA will use to reverse the unpleasant situation.
He, however, said it was time to celebrate Central Africa’s rich biodiversity, while reflecting on the challenges facing the Congo Forest Basin that is one of the world’s richest biodiversity areas with 10,000 animals and plants species much of which are disappearing.
“Cameroon is working in line with policies which have been earmarked and inscribed within the work plan of the Central African Forest Commission, COMIFAC, which has outlined a certain number of orientations.
We are working in collaboration with neighbouring countries because this is a fight we cannot go about single-handedly. So, we are working in collaboration with the Central African Republic, Chad, Congo and Gabon, among others. That is why we are holding this meeting,’’ the Minister said.
The OCFSA conference that took place in Yaounde on June 15 is the first event marking the revival of the organisation that went comatose for many years.
It is worth noting that OCFSA is a Sub-Regional body that was created in 1984 in Kartoum, Sudan, to federate the efforts of member countries in view of the protection and optimum valorisation of wildlife in Africa.
Following a long period of inactivity, OCFSA member countries gave Cameroon the responsibility to revamp the outfit.
It was within this context that the Secretary General in the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, Denis Koulagna, who was charged with organising the Yaounde events, chaired an advocacy meeting recently.
After accepting the responsibility to bring back OCFSA to life, Cameroon disbursed FCFA 95 million as the contribution for the functioning of the ad hoc commission set up to revive the organisation.
OCFSA’s current President, Cameroon Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, shows that Cameroon has fully contributed in bringing back the organisation to life.