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Strategies To Project Savannah, Montane Ecosystem Adopted 

By Chris Mbunwe

CameroonPostline.com — A two-day workshop to ensure effective participation and contribution of key actors in the revision of the biodiversity for Cameroon held recently in Bali, Mezam Division, Northwest Region. 

The workshop, the second of a series that focused on the “Savannah and Montane Ecosystems”, held within the framework of the on-going revision of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, NBSAP, and in compliance with the obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity, CBD, to which Cameroon became a party in 1994.

Representing the Minister of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development, Pierre Hele, Justice Prudencia Galega said the nation’s biological resources and diverse ecosystems, which represent 80 percent of Africa’s ecosystems, are valuable resources for the well-being of the population. 

“The nation’s policy for growth and development within its 2035 vision is driven by key production sectors that depend on biodiversity. Biodiversity, therefore, constitutes an important gift of the national heritage, the protection of which can provide the required foundation for economic and social development that is sustainable,” said Justice Galega. To achieve the goal, Justice Galega, said it will require the collective action of all actors.

She recalled that, the Convention on Biological Diversity, CBD, was adopted during the Earth Summit that took place in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The Convention was ratified by the Government of Cameroon in 1994, and has three constituent pillars namely; conservation of biodiversity, sustainable management of natural resources, and fair and equitable sharing of benefits from exploitation of genetic resources.

Participants drawn from West and Northwest Regions were told that this strategy document highlights the following; the of diversity for livelihoods and well-being of the population; the biodiversity potential of the nation evaluated through an ecosystem approach, threats faced by Cameroon’s biodiversity, per ecosystem identified as Savannah ecosystem, coastal and marine ecosystem, forest ecosystem, semi-arid and the Sahel ecosystem and Montane ecosystem.

Though adopted ten years ago, the implementation of this policy document has faced great inadequacies. As such, Justice Galega said emerging challenges to biodiversity have further rendered this document ill-adopted to address the growing threats. “Firstly, you would agree with me that the institutional, strategic, economic and socio-environmental situation that prevailed in 1999 or 2002 has greatly evolved.

The appropriation of the NBSAP, by key actors has been weak thus hampering the effectiveness in sectoral integration and implementation,” she said. Since the emerging global discussions and positions are not integrated in this policy instrument, Galega said it became urgent for the NBSAP to be revised and revitalised to provide an adapted policy, strategic and operational frameworks for protections of biodiversity.

The Northwest Regional Delegate of Environment and Protection of Nature, one of the key resource persons at the workshop, said the actors made up of Government authorities, local councils, NGOs, traditional authorities and the private sector helped them to identify causes and consequences of biodiversity loss in the Savannah and Montane ecosystems. They proposed biodiversity target for corrective actions and define priority intervention actions.

First published in The Post print edition no 01370