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Cameroon Councils Unite To Fight Climate Change 

By Elizabeth Enanga Mokake*

The British High Commission to Cameroon has helped set up a network of councils to fight climate change. The Cameroon Councils against Climate Change (4Cs) is headed by Mrs. Oumoul Koultchoumi Ahidjo – Mayor of Garoua II and comprises mayors of eight other councils: Nanga Eboko, Limbe I, Santa, Kribi I, Yokadouma, Idenau, Kaele and Yaounde VI.  

The 4 Cs was launched on Thursday, January, 27 at the residence of the British High Commissioner in Yaounde, for the various mayors to fight against climate change in their local communities. The network was created as a follow-up of a Climate Change Road Show launched in June, 2010; essentially a play entitled "Combating the Monster" by Dr. Donatus Fai Tangem to encourage mayors and councilors to adopt a structured response to the threat of climate change to their communities.

Mrs. Oumoul Koultchoumi promised to work hand in hand with her colleagues, not only with those present, but also those who participated in the Road Show and all other communities in the country. She said their first priority is to enumerate all the problems faced by their different communities as regards climate change. She further said that they have to look for necessary funds to tackle the problems. This would be done in collaboration with the United Nations Fund.

The British High Commissioner to Cameroon, H.E. Bharat Joshi, said one of the main challenges for Cameroon in the next two years is decentralisation. "We want to continue to work with these councils; building on the knowledge and leadership they have shown to make Cameroonian councils leaders in the global movement against climate change, tackling its worst effects at a local level," said the High Commissioner.

During the ceremony, a guide entitled, "Environment Impact Assessment" produced by Dr. Daniel Njamsi and his team with the help of the British Government, was launched. This guide will enable the public to actively participate in the development of their local communities. This initiative started far back in 2006 when The Access Initiative Project, Cameroon was launched.
The initiative is based on Principle 10 of the 1992 Rio Declaration, which states that, "Environmental issues are best handled with participation of all concerned citizens, at the relevant level.

At the national level, each individual shall have appropriate access to information concerning the environment that is held by public authorities, including information on hazardous materials and activities in their communities, and the opportunity to participate in decision- making processes. States shall facilitate and encourage public awareness and participation by making information widely available. Effective access to judicial and administrative proceedings, including redress and remedy, shall be provided."

The Secretary General at the Ministry of Environment and Nature Protection, Patrick Akwa Kum encouraged the mayors to make good use of the book and make sure that their local communities put it into practice. Communities face diverse problems regarding climate change. The 4Cs Treasurer, the Mayor of Limbe I, Dr. Daniel Matute, says the weather has become harsh, food crops no longer grow and that there is little foodstuff in their markets due to climate change.

He said the only way to tackle this problem is to educate the people not to destroy their forests and encourage greenery in most places. Santa Mayor, Clement Wankie Atanga, said they witness floods at the least expected time. He said their agricultural yields have reduced due to the effects of climate change. Farmers cut down trees to create space for their farms and there are continuous bush fires.

The Mayor said they will educate the people to plant trees to decorate their homes and towns and learn better methods of farming so that the forests can be preserved. The Cameroon Councils against Climate Change is the second network on climate security the UK has helped to set up in Cameroon, the first being the country’s branch of the African Parliamentary Network for a Climate

*(ASMAC Student on Internship)

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