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No Climate Change Funds For Cameroon 

By David Akana in Bonn

Cameroon will not benefit from current funds available to combat the adverse effects of global warming. Cameroon’s exclusion from the 30 billion US dollars (about 16 trillion FCFA) is due to the fact that the government has not signed up to the Climate Change Accord agreed upon late last year in Copenhagen.

"Fast start financial agreements were announced with the intent of getting an agreement in Copenhagen. Countries that reject the overall effort – say no – I have no interest in your agreement, I want something different – I am not quite sure they should be part of this financing," said the Head of the US delegation at the climate change negotiations here in Bonn.

Developing countries including Cameroon were promised about 16 trillion FCFA at the Copenhagen summit last year to immediately start work on climate adaptation, mitigation, technology transfer, capacity building and forest conservation. The United States is donating 5 billion US dollars (about 3 trillion FCFA) of this amount. In the long term, pledges were made of up to 100 billion US dollars (about 50 trillion FCFA) each year until 2020.

Why Cameroon Hasn’t Signed Accord

Asked why Cameroon has not signed the Accord, the Head of the Cameroonian delegation to the Climate Change summit here in Bonn, Mr. Joe Armathe said that "I cannot answer that question. He explained that after the Copenhagen summit last December, they made proposals to the Prime Minister and President of Cameroon.

The proposal, he said contained clear activities in the area of adaptation and mitigation of the effects of climate change in Cameroon. It is therefore, the task of the Prime Minister and possibly the Presidency to decide on whether Cameroon signs the accord or not. According to Mr. Armathe, signing, the Copenhagen Accord, however "imperfect" it may be would constitute a first step towards a legally binding agreement in future.

In Africa, Zimbabwe and Sudan for instance have not signed up to the Copenhagen Accord. In their case, it is understood to be because of some fundamental differences of principles with key orchestrators of the accord such as US, UK and the European Union. In the case of Cameroon, Mr. Armathe speculated that it could just be as a result of bureaucracy. Mr. Armathe who acts as the key climate change contact person in the Ministry of Environment and Nature Protection acknowledged that Cameroon will miss out on current funds to combat global warming.

If this happens, it would mean that Cameroon may not be able to have the funds needed to continue work in many related climate change adaptation and mitigation activities. Recognizing the urgency to access the funds, Mr. Armathe said that he would initiate a letter to the Prime Minister through the Ministry of Environment and Nature Protection to inform them of the disadvantages of not adhering to the Accord.

Even though Cameroon is excluded from benefitting from the fast start financing now, it does not mean they may not benefit from the funds if they sign the Accord in future. Among the 191 countries that make up the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC), 127 countries have signed. Zimbabwe, Sudan, Niger, Liberia, Egypt, Somalia, Libya, Sao Tome & Principe and Equatorial Guinea are among the few Africa countries that have not signed the accord.

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