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Gov’ts Urged To Seal Deal On Climate Change 

By Kini Nsom & Daniel Gwarbarah

UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon has called on people across the world to press their governments to ‘seal the deal’ at the crucial climate change talks billed for Copenhagen, Sweden in December.

The UN Scribe’s call is contained in a message delivered Friday, June 5 to mark this year’s World Environment Day. The message comes against a backdrop of feet-dragging by some nations to ratify the protocol on climate change. The day was commemorated in Cameroon under the theme: "Your Planet Needs You: Let’s Unite in the Fight against Climate Change".

Referring to the economic and financial turmoil sweeping across the world as a true wake-up call, Ban Ki Moon describes it as an alarm on the need to improve old patterns of growth and make a transition to a new era of greener, cleaner development. He stated that while the earth faces the grave threat of climate, the poor will bear the brunt of the impact.

"The world also needs a ‘green new deal’ focussed on investing in renewable sources of energy, eco-friendly infrastructure and energy efficiency. This will not only create jobs and spur recovery but also help tackle global warming," the UN Scribe stated. He believes that if substantial amounts of the new economic stimulus packages are invested in the green economy, "we can turn today’s crisis into tomorrow’s sustainable growth."

According to Ban Ki Moon, the planet needs more than just action by governments and corporations as he observes that individual decisions may seem small in the face of global threats and trends. He, however, maintained that when billions of people join forces in common purpose, "we can make a tremendous difference…and I encourage all people to take concrete steps towards making the planet greener and cleaner."

Delivering Cameroon’s message on the day, the Minister of the Environment and the Protection of Nature, MINEP, Pierre Helé, said the day was an opportunity for nations and the people to reflect and take appropriate measures on threats of climate change. Making reference to the theme, he highlighted the call to global responsibility of jointly reacting against the phenomenon of climate change.

He noted that despite differences in political and economic blocks, the current context of globalisation narrows the destiny of all, thus necessitating individual and collective actions against causes and effects of climate change.
Helé said locally, the government and other stakeholders are working to improve on production and consumption methods that are friendly to the environment.

He harped on the need for all peoples to cooperate in the rational management of the environment in order to assure development that caters for the needs of future generations.
Quoting article IV of the Rio Declaration, he said to guarantee sustainable development, the protection of the environment must be an integral part of the development process. "Whoever promotes the protection of the environment is also fighting against climate change on which the survival of our planet depends," the Minister noted.

Outlining a catalogue of causes of the phenomenon, Helé said Cameroon is taking steps to fight against its negative effects. Apart from ratifications and adhesion to the Rio Declaration, the Kyoto and Montreal Protocols, he said efforts to ensure the putting in place of these international judicial instruments are intensifying each day.

In that regard, he outlined the numerous projects of the Ministry and extended thanks to donor organisations for their unflinching support. The commemoration of the Day at the Yaounde Conference Centre was characterised by sketches, poems and songs by nature clubs drawn from schools in the city as well as chorale of the Ministry.

Meanwhile, in a related event, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, WWF, also organised activities at the Mvog-Betsi Zoo to mark the day. WWF National Director, Martin Tchamba, in a speech, questioned the type of environment we want to bequeath to our children as he observed that the news about the environment is not very good.

He hailed the activities of MINEP, noting that the momentum should sail on and should be a clearer signal for an optimistic post Kyoto Treaty. He said the gathering was not to "repeat the clear call for concern over our changing climate, but to engrave a battle song for a better planet in our hearts. We are here this afternoon to visualise, sing and act in order to tell the world…that the time is now, let’s unite to combat climate change."

WWF in collaboration with the British High Commission used the occasion to launch a quiz on climate change and other environmental issues. A cross-section of musicians sang at the event in favour of environmental protection.