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Countdown To Climate Change Summit: Environmental Stakeholders Concert On Common Stance 

By Daniel Gwarbarah

Stakeholders in the domain of the environment in Cameroon September 11 held an enlarged concertation meeting to brainstorm and agree on the stance of the country ahead of the UN World Summit on Climate Change slated for Copenhagen, Denmark in December this year.

According to the Minister of Environment and Protection of Nature, MINEP, Pierre Hèlé, who chaired the deliberations, the meeting was aimed at enabling environmental stakeholders in the country agree and strengthen the country’s stance in the face of ongoing international negotiations in preparation for the Copenhagen summit. Stating that the consequences of climate change is now known by a majority of people following the fast advancing desert, increasing floods, rise in sea levels and so on, Hèlé said Cameroon must take into consideration its own interest.

The Minister observed that developed nations have failed to respect the Kyoto Protocol which compelled them to reduce latest 2008 emission of greenhouse gases by five percent. He said because of the failure, there is, therefore, need for new engagements to be taken at the Copenhagen summit. He re-echoed the promise to create a Climate Change Commission in Cameroon made by President Paul Biya in an address at a UN General Assembly, and noted that a roadmap has already been elaborated to that effect.

Presenting a proposed document concerning the position of Cameroon on international negotiations with regard to climate change, one of the inspectors in MINEP said the country supports initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gases caused by deforestation and degradation. He held that conservation efforts of the country must be considered and compensated for by the advanced nations who are the greatest emitters of carbon. The proposal also calls for a market mechanism to be put in place where all greenhouse reduction efforts would be credited in terms of marketable carbon.

It was noted that Cameroon intends to have 30 percent of its territory as protected areas. To justify the progress made, it was revealed that the protected areas in the country today stand at 20 percent as against 11 percent in 1992, a service the government believes is enormously contributing to moderating the global climate and which needs to be compensated for. Other proposals call for an international support fund for afforestation and re-afforestation projects as well as for the development of other alternative energy sources with the involvement of the local populations.

The stakeholders are also calling for a proper geographical distribution of projects under the clean development mechanism (MDP) programme as well as the addition for financing by MDP of re-afforestation programmes initiated by developing countries. Adaptation by developing countries to climate change, technological transfer, shared vision and funding mechanisms and what is expected of the developed nations were equally debated upon.

One of the major proposals by Cameroon highlighted at the meeting is a call for advanced nations to reduce greenhouse gases by at least 40 percent between now and 2020 and down to 80 percent by 2050, taking 1990 as the reference point. Contributing their quota to enrich the proposal, many participants held that relevant data should be added to the document in order to back up loose and generalised statements therein. Others said Cameroon and other African countries should not go to the summit as beggars but must agree and take a firm stance in the face of perpetual manipulations and threats into submissions by the industrialised nations.

Meanwhile, the Secretary General of MINEP, Patrick Akwa Kubong, said Cameroon is gunning for the establishment of a kind of climate change fund that would be accessible to all nations.
He made reference to the clean development mechanism fund which experience has proven that it is an uphill task for some nations to benefit from; reason why Cameroon has a single project only that is being financed by the fund.

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