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06 August 2013

The Environment and Sustainable Development in the Cameroon Press

Posted in News, Views 3568

A Review of over 15 Media organs in Cameroon on what is making news on the environment

Standards for Best NGOs Practice in Cameroon

Most media houses in Cameroon ushered in the month of July with reports on some standards set aside by 25 Non-profit Organizations (NGOs) as basis for any ideal NGO practice in the country. These standards according to state-owned Cameroon Radio and Television, Ocean City Radio, The Post Newspaper (No: 01443 Monday, July 01, 2013) and other local media included; governance, sustainability and management. Governance according to these media houses means the NGO must first be registered with the State, be non-profit making, have a Board of Directors, an Executive organ with a head, a constitution and articles of association. It must also have a physical office and not hide in a suit case; must have a bank account in the institution's name and has co-signatories for transparency purposes, among others. In terms of best management practices, the media said that such an NGO must, among other things, have a good organisational structure, proof of beneficiary satisfaction etc. These standards according to the media, were set aside June 25, 2013 during a-one-day working session in Limbe organised by The World Wide Fund for Nature's Coastal Forests Programme (WWF-CFP)-a session, which the CEO of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), Louis Nkembi said came at the right moment.

Cameroon, China Identified Environment and Sustainable Development Projects

The Post Newspaper in her maiden edition for the month of July (No; 01443 Monday, July 01, 2013), reported the story of some priority sustainable development projects in the country identified by the Cameroonian and Chinese governments during a workshop organised recently by World Wide Fund for Nature, WWF. The projects according to the paper include; Enhancing forest management and protection of nature, increasing corporate social responsibility in extractive operations and related infrastructures, and increasing corporations on renewable energy. The paper stated that Chinese government has recognised the challenges of environmental problems linked to economic development in Cameroon and will thus share experience on ecosystem and natural capital management with the country because "it is the basis for a sustainable development agenda". The post Newspaper further revealed that this relationship according to experts, is much needed for Africa's economic development, as only sustainable development will ensure food, clean energy, water supply for all, and the protection of natural resources upon which millions of people depend for their livelihoods.

African mining experts seek ways to fight longstanding foreign exploitation

Mining Contract Manual Harmonized

Cameroon's lone bilingual daily, The Cameroon Tribune (Issue No: 10377/6578 Fiday 05 July, 2013) took us to the Country's Administrative headquarter, Yaoundé, where mining experts from some six African Countries including Liberia, Mozambique, Malawi, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Cameroon met, July 4-5, and produced a harmonized mining contract manual that will henceforth govern mining exploration in the continent. This meeting according to this paper and other media reports came against the backdrop of the inexperience with which countries in the continent go to the negotiating table with mining companies for exploration and production, often disfavouring the countries and their population. The paper stated that these African countries were positive that with the unique/harmonised mining contract negotiation manual, the continent's seemingly weak mining institutions and governance which often plunge its blessings into "natural resource curse" will belong to history.

The paper cited participants at the workshop like Melvin Sheriff from Liberia, Fui Tsikata from Ghana and Jill Howieson from Australia as saying that "there is need to federate effort in this sector so that foreign investors do not continue to feed fat on the continent's sub oil while its population languish in abject poverty".

$1.7 million Allocated for the Sustainable development of the Bakossi/Bayang Mbo wildlife sanctuary

Another event that animated most media houses and newsstands in the country, was the Limbe July 3-4 Project Inception Workshop which saw the allocation of 1.7 million US dollars (approximately FCFA 850 million) for the sustainable development of the Bakossi/Bayang Mbo wildlife sanctuary. The state media, the Cameroon Radio and Television(CRTV), just like The Green Vision Newspaper, The Post Newspaper, Spectrum Television (STV) reported that the Bakossi Landscape that covers the Kupe Muanenguba and the Bayang Mbo area are habitats for some of the most endangered species such as the Cross River Gorilla and chimpanzees and equally harbours lots of high value fauna and flora. Bringing together experts from the Ministry of the Environment, representatives of international funding and support partners like: Adamou Bouhari of the United Nations Environment Programme, Rob Brett of the Fauna and Flora International, FFI, a representative of the, GEF, CHEDE and the Buea-based Environmental NGO, ERuDeF, local chiefs, representatives from WWF and Herakles Farms the project according to these media houses, was conceived to see how farming in this area can be made sustainable while mainstreaming and effectively conserving the rich biodiversity of the area.

Gorilla Habituation to Go Operational in southeast of Cameroon

The Post Newspaper (issue No: 01444 Friday, July 05, 2013) reported that the Chief Coordinator, Network Priority Places/Species Team, WWF Japan Naobi Okayasu, said that they have identified a group of gorillas with high potentials for habituation in the Lobeke National Park-southeast Cameroon. The identification according to this paper started in April 2013 and continued through May 2013 as the team went visiting the Petite Savane, and Djangui forest clearings and Djembe base camps of the park. The paper added that during one of such outings, May 24 2013, the team came across "this same group of six gorillas on the same spot and approached them as close as 30 metres, but the apes did not flee, which is a good sign for a possible habituation. The paper disclosed that the network has put in place a team of three people to further track the gorillas for three months beginning June 2013.

. Trans-Border Anti-Poaching Squad Created for Sangha Tri-national Sanctuary

The focus of most media houses especially in the Francophone regions of the country, during the second week of July, was the putting in place of a tri-national anti-poaching brigade to fight wildlife criminals in the 7.5 million hectares Sangha Tri-National Sanctuary (TNS) that spans across Cameroon, the Central Africa Republic, and Congo (Brazzaville). This according to Canal2 Television ,The Post Newspaper (Issue No: 01445 Monday, July 08, 2013) and many other media, was revealed by the Executive Manager of TNS, Dr. Timothée Fometé Nembot, during a recent press conference in Yaounde that marked the end of a Board meeting of TNS. The putting in place of this brigade as the media revealed, was necessary to neutralise trans-border trafficking and massive poaching in the Sangha Sanctuary rich in cultural and exceptional natural biodiversity including "a huge population of forest elephants and western lowland gorillas and chimpanzees amongst others. The Post Newspaper further disclosed that over 26 forest elephants were killed in the Dzanga Bai clearing last year calling on the state and its partners "to react with all the force in the face of this crisis"

Villages Receive Second Mt. Cameroon National Park Boundary Payments

CRTV Buea Regional station just like The Post (01445Monday, July 08, 2013) and many others told the story of how some seven villages in the West Coast and Limbe II Subdivisions including Batoke, Etome, Lower Boando, Bakingili, Njongi, Bibunde and Sanje, July 6, received the balance payments amounting to FCFA 3,080,000 for clearing and re-opening of a 44-km line demarcating the Mount Cameroon National Park, MCNP, from the villages.

The payments exercise took place under the auspices of the Southwest Regional Chief of Service in Charge of Wildlife and Protected Areas at the Regional Delegate of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF), Joseph Nono. According to these media houses, this served as an avenue for MINFOF officials to beseech the villager to avoid taking their farms closer to the boundary and to stop hunting in the Mt Cameroon area given that it is extremely rich in plant and animal species such as the elephant, chimpanzee and a variety of monkeys.

Meanwhile the traditional authorities of all seven villages expressed happiness with the payments, saying the second payments further gives them hope and trust in the whole project of making Mt Cameroon a National Park for the benefit of all.

The Cameroon Media and Environmental Reporting

The Star Newspaper ( issue No 257July Monday 8, 2013) took us to the world of environmental reporting in the country. The paper said although Cameroon is regarded as developed and free, environmental reporting is far from being developed in the country. The paper revealed that until the launch of the Green Vision Newspaper by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), June 17, 2013, the country was without any specialised medium on environmental issues. The paper attributed this to lack of access to vital environmental information and basic skill about environmental reporting given the fact that Cameroonian Journalists are trained mostly on conventional journalism. This, according to the paper, is such that even the few environmental issues reported often have "obscure or unambiguous environmental information which turn to confuse the readership the more.

3 Face Trial for Killing Gorillas

The Post Newspaper (Issue No: 01447 Monday, July 15, 2013) took us to Eastern Cameroon where some three Cameroonians suspected of killing three gorillas, in the village of Ntam in Ngoyla Subdivision were arrested, June 19, 2013, by forest rangers working at the Nki National Park in that region. The paper said the suspects are currently detained in a prison in Abong Mbang in the East Region.

According to this newspaper, gorilla is Class A protected species, and going by the 1994 Cameroon Wildlife Law, if the suspects are found guilty, they could face up to three years imprisonment and or a fine ranging between FCFA 3 to 10 million. Meanwhile an estimated 2,500 gorillas are said to be in the Nki National Park and 2,000 more in the Ngoyla-Mintom Forest Block adjoining the Park.

Book on Marine Environmental Care launched

The launch of an environmental book, "Marine Environmental Care", by Nsahilai Athanasius-a seasoned Cameroonian Marine Administrator in the country, was another event that greeted many media houses in the country. Prefaced by the Minister of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development, Hele Pierre, the book, according The Star Newspaper (issue No 257, July Monday 8, 2013) comes to challenge individuals, civil societies, industries, maritime companies, academic institutions and government establishment to join in combating pollution especially marine pollution from land based and other sources. The 12-chapter book is in recognition of today's industrial globalization and the need to develop pollution prevention and waste management programs so as to bring environmental compliance.

Herakles farm in trouble again!

NGOs petition against Herakles' land grabbing

The Recorder Newspaper (Issue No: 048 Thurday July 11, 2013) brought us back to the land grabbing saga of a-US-owned palm oil firm, Herakles Farms. The paper said some two Cameroonian Civil Society groups; the Centre for Environmental Development (CED) and the Network for the Fight against Hunger (RELUFA), June 13, 2013, handed over a letter to the US government calling on them to investigate into the land acquisition and forest activities of Herakles Farms. This petition according to the report, came after persistent complaint from the local people about practices of this firm, which have deprived them of thousands hectares of their forest land. Citing CED Coordinator, Samuel Nguiffo, the paper disclosed that the petition falls within the legal frame work of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which states that international investors carry out better policies to improve the livelihood of the population, and not destroy it. The paper added that the practice also goes against the law of both the United States and the Cameroon governments.

500 Hectares of Land Allocated to Flood Victims in Far North Cameroon

The State-owned bilingual daily, Cameroon Tribune (Issue No: 10381/6582, Thursday July 11, 2013) reported how the Cameroon government has allocated some 500 hectares of land for the 2012 flood victims in Gobo, Kai-kai and Yagoua localities in that region. This decision is aimed at permanently removing these victims from the risk zones. The decision was reached on July 8, 2013, after an evaluation meeting by the Crises Committee, which took place under the auspices of Far North Regional Governor, Augustine Fonka Awa.

Projects Underway to Boost Cameroon's Tourism/Wood Sector

The Cameroon Tribune (Issue No: 1038/6582 Thursday 11, 2013) disclosed that the Cameroon government and the world Bank Group are working toward reconstructing an over $ 30 million (15.3 Billion Franc) value chain project that will render the country's economy more competitive. The project which also seeks to boost the country's economic growth, reduce poverty and improve on standards of living mostly concerns the Tourism and Wood sector of the country. With its 20 million hectares of forest, Cameroon is reportedly second to DR. Congo and counts well over 300 wood species in its thick and vast forests.

Limbe Flood Carries away one, Renders Many Homeless!

On a rather tragic note, The Post (Issue No: 01447Monday, July 15, 2013) joined the Eden Newspaper and The Star Newspaper amongst local radio stations in Buea to report how a flood in Limbe-Chief Town of Fako Division-Southwest Cameroon carried away a 9-year-old boy and rendered inhabitants of some three neighbourhoods (Mbonjo, Motowo and Jengele) in the area homeless. These newspapers reported that the flood, which occurred in the first week of July, came after hours of heavy down pour.

Most media houses in the country attributed the flood to the topography of Limbe adding that "Limbe is a basin so those residing atop the hills, dump all their waste downwards, such that those living at the bottom suffer". As to what government is doing to resolve this crisis, The Post Newspaper reported that the Limbe City Council is planning to demolish houses built on water ways. According to other media reports, this is the third time Limbe is been affected by flood (1990, 2001 and 2013).

Water Crises Persist in Buea-Southwest Cameroon

The post (Issue No 01448Friday July 19, 2013) rounded off their environmental column for the month with the Buea water crisis. The paper reported that Buea residents are facing worsening water crises than ever before and that the country's water management body has resorted to rationing water. The paper said in spite of this measure some neighbourhoods in this metropolis have gone for almost a year now without a drop of water flowing in their homes with taps growing rusty. This is such that the people largely depend on run-off from rain for home uses meanwhile statistic from the ministry of water and energy indicate that only 3% of Cameroon's 20 million people have access to clean water. This they attribute to ageing infrastructure.

Cameroon Fish Highly Contaminated with Mercury

The second edition of The Green Vision Newspaper rounded off the month with an article on the fish eaten in Cameroon not being too safe. According to this Newspaper, a scientific study conducted by experts from the Biodiversity Research Institute, the International POP Elimination Network et al proved that Cameroon's fish stocks are continuously being contaminated with toxic mercury waste discharged by industries in Douala in the Littoral Region. The study reveals that Douala, Cameroon's largest city and industrial hub is a mercury exposure hotspot. The study equally Medics saying human ingestion of the most poisonous form of mercury via consumption of polluted fish results in the wrecking of the immune and nervous systems. It went forth to say the Wouri estuary where most of the fishing of Douala is done is highly polluted with mercury from the various industries around.

Creation of Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary Imminent

The Green Vision Newspaper also carried a story on the imminence of a protected are in the Southwest region christened Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in the Lebialem Division. According to The Green Vision Newspaper, the creation of this Sanctuary is almost complete following a Divisional Classification meeting which held in Menji, chief town of the Lebialem Division. Stakeholders at the meeting led by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) put a cap on the case at the level of the Division and now waiting for the announcement from the Prime Minister of Cameroon.

Compiled by Ndimuh B. Shancho