Cameroon: Senate - Wildlife Heritage Bill Tabled

It strives to protect migratory waterbirds which are increasingly becoming scarce and endangered and Cameroon's biodiversity in general.

A bill defining immediate measures to be implemented to stop the decline of migratory waterbird species and their habitat in the geographical area of the African-Eurasian waterbird migration system has been tabled before the Senate on June 21, 2019 during a plenary sitting of the House chaired by its President, Marcel Niat Njifenji in the presence of the Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Relations with the Assemblies, Bolvine Wakata. The Bill No 126/PJL/SEN/2L seeks to authorise the President of the Republic to proceed with Cameroon's accession to the Agreement on the Conservation of the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA), signed on August 15, 1996 at the Hague, the Netherlands. Migratory waterbirds constitute an important part of Cameroon's biological diversity and should be conserved for the benefit of the present and future generations in accordance with the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity.

The Agreement comprising 16 articles precede by a preamble, calls on parties to take coordinated measures within the limits of their national jurisdiction to maintain migratory waterbird species in a favourable conservation status or to restore them to such a status by giving special attention to endangered species as well as those with an unfavourable conservation status.

Cameroon's accession to the Agreement, going by explanatory notes, will enable it to safeguard a significant part of its rich wildlife heritage through benefits from research and continuous monitoring projects, as part of the fight against highly pathogenic bird diseases. Specific actions required of signatory parties in line with the general conservation of migratory waterbirds such as species conservation, habitat conservation, management of human activities, research and continuous monitoring, education and information are clearly outlined in Article four of the Agreement. The government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands has been designated as the Depository of the Agreement and contribution to the budget of the Agreement will be in accordance with the United Nations scale of assessment, according to Article 5(2) of the Agreement.

Summarily, the tabled bill targets the protection of migratory waterbirds in the geographic area of the African- Eurasian waterbird migration systems which are increasingly becoming scare, endangered and vulnerable because they migrate over long distances and dependent on networks of wetlands that are decreasing in extent and becoming degraded through unsustainable and irrational human activities. Harmful effects of industrial and agricultural pollutants that constitute others risks to waterbirds are some other aspects the bill seeks to address for the protection of the birds.

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