17 January 2013

Cameroon: Sstakeholders Strategise on Conservation Mechanisms

Officials of the central and external services of the Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development began meeting in Yaounde yesterday.

Experts in environmental protection in the country are currently seeking ways through which they can work in synergy to efficiently implement programmes contained in the action plan of the Ministry of the Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development in the 2013-2015 programme budget. Officials of the internal and external services of the ministry as well as other stakeholders in the sector began meeting in Yaounde yesterday January 17 in a two-day annual conference of the ministry for 2013.

Placed under the theme, "Dedication and Commitment," the Yaounde confab whose kicker was given by the Minister, Pierre Hele, is building the capacities of all actors in the chain so that the three main programmes of the ministry would be implemented excellently. Speaking during the opening ceremony at the Conference Centre, Minister Pierre Hele said with the programme-based execution budget, the ministry has three main programmes which cover its routine missions of ensuring a clean and healthy environment for Cameroonians. The programmes span through sectors like desertification to combat the advance of the desert, preserving the country's rich biodiversity as well as looking at nuisances by way of chemicals, noise and pollution.

These are all areas participants at the conference are being drilled on. "On desertification, we will be talking more about the northern regions where we have been actively working for the past years with the Green Sahel Operation. For each year, we come in with about 3,000 to 3,500 new hectares. In 2012, we planted over 400,000 trees and we have done that for the past four or five years. The peculiarity with the action of our ministry is that we don't plant trees and abandon. So, the planting is enhanced by accompanying measures," the Secretary General of the Ministry, Akwa Patrick Kum Bong, said. With the decentralisation process now on, he said, the ministry now carries out the activity with local councils. "We do the planting and when the trees have taken roots, we hand them over to the councils for maintenance," he added. In the domain of biodiversity, there is a project to monitor and control the importation and use of genetically-modified organics which, experts say, are a real threat to biodiversity. Also, the participants are looking at the national biodiversity strategy and action plan that should go into implementation. They will also need to propose alternatives to people who want to exploit the forests the ministry wants to preserve. This is done through environmental impact assessment. At the start of the conference, the Minister and the Minister Delegate, Nana Aboubakar Djalloh, received New Year wishes from their personnel and attached services. The conference ends this Friday January 18.

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