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08 June 2013

The Environment in the Cameroon Press

Posted in News, Views 2253

National News

One of the major issues that greeted many newspaper stands and media houses in Cameroon for the month of May was the arrest of a Chinese wildlife dealer in Limbe, April 28, 2013, with 7 sacks of Pangolin scale. According to The Median Newspaper of May 6, 2013, this Chinese national (whose name many media houses did not mention), was arrested alongside a Cameroonian gendarmerie and custom officials under the auspices of the Fako Divisional Delegate of Forestry and Wildlife, Eketi Emmanuel. Speaking to the press immediately after the arrest, Mr. Eketi noted that on March 26, 2013, many sacks of pangolin scales weighing over 160 kg were seized in the Douala International airport. The forestry and wildlife delegate disclosed that Pangolin is totally protected under the Cameroon wildlife law for economic, eco-touristic and scientific reasons.

Curled from The Median Newspaper

Trucks transporting Illegal timber impounded

Shortly after the arrest of this wildlife dealer, media houses again reported the impoundment of dozens of trucks transporting illegal timber from Southwest Cameroon to Douala for onward exportation. The Time Scape Journal of May 13, 2013, like other media houses in the country, wrote that Regional Forest Control Brigade at the Forestry and Wildlife Regional Delegation in Douala, Mr.Daniel Ndoumou, revealed that the logs were felled illegally from Southwest Cameroon and was able to reach Douala successfully because truck drivers paid bribes to police and forest guards along the way. One of the forest exploiters and wood dealer told the press that the impoundment of his consignment was unjust because was in a hurry when he left the forest and could not sign the consignment. The impounded timbers are however at the Littoral Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife for auction sale.

Curled from The Times cape Journal

International Day of Biodiversity Celebrated

Celebrations marking the International Day of Biodiversity, May 22, 2013 were equally in the media lamp light. Celebrated under the theme "Water and Biodiversity", the focus of many media organs including the National Bilingual daily, Cameroon Tribune, the Cameroon Radio and Television (CRTV) and The Post Newspaper amongst others was the launch of week-long activities to mark the day in the country. This was done by the Minister Delegate in the Ministry of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED), Dr. Nana Aboubakar Djalloh, May 13, 2013. Dr. Nana, according to these media houses, used the launch to underscore the indispensability of water to the entire ecosystem and the role of the government to curb water scarcity in the country. He equally reaffirmed government commitment in ensuring the conservation and sustainable use of the country's biological resources for the wellbeing of Cameroonians and humanity as a whole. Other activities to mark the International Biodiversity Day as reported in the press included exhibitions on the importance of water and biodiversity, and visits to water treatment stations in the country.

US agro-company suspends activities for unsustainable environmental practices

Another happening in the milieu of Environment, nature protection and sustainable development that took center stage in the country media within the month of May was the SG Sustainable Oils Cameroon (SG-SOC)- subsidiary of US-based Herakles Farms suspension of her operations in the country. The Post Newspaper in her online edition of May 24, 2013 disclosed that the decision by the United States-based agriculture is in compliance with a recently issued order from the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF). It requests that the company ceases preparing land near its Talangaye nursery being subject to a declaration of public usefulness made to the zone where the entire project is located. This order from MINFOF according media reports comes after intense pressure from environmental NGOs and segments of the concerned indigenes that raised concerns about the company's impact on the environment and their ancestral lands, respectively. Herakles Farms according to a press release, May 18 announcing the suspension, is diligently working with Cameroonian Government officials to resolve the matter as quickly as possible especially given that close to 700 nationals have been rendered jobless as a result of the suspension. Herakles has been functioning in Cameroon since 2009.

In environmental education, the media reported the launching of the Fishing and Maritime Institution in Limbe by the Minister of Livestock Fisheries and Animal Husbandry, Dr. Taiga. Dr. Taiga according to the Cameroon Radio and Televison (CRTV) Buea discussed with stakeholders and sponsors involved in the construction of the institution, and gave directives on how the institution will be run. On his part, the Southwest Regional Delegate of Livestock Fisheries and Animal Husbandry, Francis Sale, said the institution will enable Cameroonians to acquire skills to venture in the maritime and fishing sectors; a sector, which he said, is dominated by unskilled foreigners in Cameroon.

The Post Newspaper of May 20, 2013 again reported a workshop which saw the validation of the national strategic document for the environment, nature protection and sustainable development sub-sector. Speaking during the validation workshop, MINEPDED Minister Pierre Hele outlined the stages that led to the production of the 247-page strategic document. He urged stakeholders to reflect and refine the document which according to him, would serve as a reference framework for the next five years in the environment, nature protection and sustainable development sub-sector. The paper further reported how members moved to the five agro-ecological regions covering the ten regions of Cameroon where consultations, assessments and analyses of the state of the environment. This led to the formulation of strategic choices, elaboration of priority actions plan and a framework for follow-up and evaluation. The workshop was attended by officials from the Ministry of the Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED), representatives of national and international NGOs as well as development partners in the domain.

Congo Basin under threat

According to the Centre for International Forestry Research, CIFOR, satellite-based monitoring data indicates that deforestation rates have nearly doubled in recent years, bouncing from 0.09 percent in 2000 to 0.17 in 2005 in the Congo Basin. This Basin hosts 70 percent of Africa's forests and a unique biodiversity. It supports the livelihoods of some 60 million people and now suffers from accelerated deforestation. A situation which many media have attributed to soaring global demands for natural resources, regional economic development strides, booming populations relying on the forests for sustenance, as well as interminable conflicts spawning massive human displacements. Other observers according to other media reports, term it a crossroads situation for the region, as governments engage major infrastructure development ventures. In Cameroon for example, vast sections of the basin forest are being chopped down for agribusiness, seaports and dam projects, a similar trend unfolding across the sub-region with promises of new jobs for its impoverished dwellers.

Mining Experts meet in Yaounde

In the mining sector, the Cameroon National Bilingual daily Cameroon Tribune reported that International investors, mining experts and Cameroonian decision-makers began appraising strides in the country's mining sector. These stakeholders assessed stakes and challenges with an objective to find tune what needs to be done to enhance the sector so that it can substantially contribute to the country's emergence vision. The high-level forum, code-named, Cameroon International Mining Conference & Exhibition (CIMEC 2013) took place at the Yaounde Conference Centre, May 29 on the theme, "Sustainably developing Cameroon's mineral resources for the benefit of future generations." The event featured discussions, exhibitions and a visit to some of Cameroon's key mining sites.

Compiled by Bertrand N. Shancho