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Cameroon Biodiversity Protection Strategies Ill-Adapted 

By Clerance Forchu* — The Technical Adviser No 1 in the Ministry of the Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development, MINEPDED, Justice Prudence Galega, has stated that Cameroon’s biodiversity protection strategies are very ill-adapted. She was speaking, August 31, during an inter-sectoral restitution and consultation workshop on the national biodiversity strategic and action plan that took place in the conference room of MINEPDED.

The last strategic plan was drawn up in 2002. Galega said a strategic document is based on the time developed, the state of realities and the state of the issue involved. But for the case of Cameroon, the strategies do not conform to the state of its biodiversity given that the strategies have proven to be unable to manage the threats. She disclosed that a lot has evolved in terms of the state of biodiversity and went ahead to outline some of the threats.

“In the marine ecosystem which should be the main source of our fish protein, for example, the number of fish species is reducing. The mangroves which should be their habitat are degrading because of erosion. Looking at the Sahel, we are victims of increasing threats of climate change, and in that zone, there is massive increase in land degradation. The area is subject to constant flooding and as a result, negatively affecting livelihood there. As for the forest ecosystem, the unsustainable exploitation and inequitable distribution of benefits remain a problem.”

“In response to the threats, a lot has been done but it is proving to be inadequate. That is why we say the 2002 plan is very ill-adapted to protect our biodiversity now,” Justice Galega added.
It is in line with this that, within the past five months, actors have been having consultations and collecting data in the different ecosystems of the nation to help them evaluate and revise the national biodiversity preservation plan. It is worth noting that Cameroon became a member of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) on October 19, 1994.

Cameroon is, therefore, subjected and committed to the requirements and decisions of the convention. Since Cameroon is a member, she is bound to implement its three stipulated objectives. The first is to conserve biodiversity, sustain the use of biodiversity components and equitably distribute the benefits that biodiversity provide.

It is in line with this that Cameroon developed a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) in 1999 which she adopted in 2000. The document was discovered to have some lapses in all the six ecosystems identified in Cameroon, and also identified as a drawback to the fight for the sustainable management of the ecosystem for the enhancement of the society thus the need for revision.

During the August 31 meeting, a report from one of the partners was presented by Dr. Thomas Tata. He highlighted the shortcomings of the 2002 action plan and together with other actors, the document was evaluated and new proposals made. Tata recommended that a data base be established and maintained on issues of biodiversity, patterns and intensity of use for an effective planning.

He also recommended that data on biodiversity needs to be stored in a Geographical Information System (GIS), in high resolution satellite imagery and could be kept in safe institutions such as IRAD, herbariums and universities. This way, all potential users of such data will have access to it. At the end of the seminar, Justice Galega entreated all the actors to be committed in improving the country’s biodiversity using their expertise.

(UB Journalism Student On Internship)

First published in The Post print edition no 01371