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Biodiversity Is Life-Wire Of Human Existence 

By Nformi Sonde Kinsai

“The sustainability of life on earth requires a common vision and a strong engagement towards conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity…,” was one of the declarations made in Yaounde on September 8 by the Minister of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development, MINEPDED, Pierre Hele.
The occasion was a national consultation and preparatory workshop for the 12th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, CBD, billed for Pyeongchang , the Republic of South Korea from September 29 to October 17, 2014. 
The Minister disclosed that alongside the conference, the 7th meeting of parties to the bio-safety protocol and the first meeting of the Nagoya protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing, ABS, from the exploitation of genetic resources will also hold.
“Expectations from these important meetings are enormous in the sense that the international community must define a clear path for a development whose sustainability is assured by biodiversity that provides a solid base,” he held.
“In ratifying the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1994, Cameroon, together with the international community, took a commitment to ensure conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity resources for the wellbeing of its people and humanity as a whole,” Pierre Hele added.
Maintaining that the effort made so far is supposed to have ensured resilience of the world’s ecosystem and a sustainable future for humanity, the Minister said recent evaluation of global biodiversity trends still exposed numerous challenges. Such challenges are associated with the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources, soil degradation, destruction of habitats and threats from the negative effects of climate change.
The MINEPDED boss hoped that following the outlined challenges, action must be accelerated in order to be able to attain some goals dubbed the: “Aichi 20 global objectives” that were set by the international community. “In neglecting the value of biodiversity and leaving it impoverished, we are undermining our objectives to eradicate poverty, ensure food security and human health,” Hele declared.
Going by a 2014 national report on biodiversity for Cameroon, the Minister also used the occasion to outline the efforts of the country in fostering the progress of the CBD. He mentioned reinforcing of legal framework for conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity; elaboration in 2000 of the first strategy and national action plan for biodiversity as well as that of 2012 on ABS accruing from the exploitation of genetic resources, amongst others.
According to the National Focal Point Coordinator on Biodiversity at MINEPDED, Prudence Galega, who is also the Technical Adviser No 1 in that ministry, Cameroon is one of some 25 countries that have validated its national programme on biodiversity.
She said the 12th Conference of Parties to the CBD; will amongst other things, be looking at ways of financing priority actions as defined in biodiversity conservation programmes. Galega noted that livelihoods of communities depend on biodiversity and it is therefore urgent for action to be taken to halt its loss.
She referred to progress made by Cameroon in implementing its commitments in the domain as significant. For example, she revealed that the global target for protected areas is 15 percent but Cameroon has gone beyond that. 
“The recent validation of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, Cameroon’s recent adhesion to the Nagoya Protocol on ABS, the validation of a National Strategy for ABS and ongoing development of the Bio-safety Strategy demonstrate commitments to translate the convention into national realities.
“This does not however mean that we are not facing challenges. It requires huge investments in the ecological regions of the country for us to ensure that biodiversity contributes to the nation’s growth and development …,” she told the press.
Prudence Galega had in a preliminary presentation, said discussions at the Yaounde consultation meeting would border on integrating biodiversity into the sustainable development agenda; biodiversity conservation and restoration for disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and mitigation, sustainable agriculture and forestry. Biodiversity and the creative economy and biodiversity, trans-boundary protected areas and peace were some of the themes treated.
The Technical Adviser No 1 also said the expected outcome of the Pyeongchang meeting will be a roadmap for the 2020 setting out the additional efforts and mechanisms needed to support further implementation of the strategic plan.

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