The Government, through the Ministry of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development, MINEPDED; and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF); have targeted the students of the National School of Administration and Magistracy (ENAM), for regular drills on issues of the environment.
At one of such conferences in the school to commemorate the 47th edition of the World Environment Day observed every June 5, the WWF Programmes Manager, Gilles Etoga, told reporters that ENAM students are a crucial target for WWF as well as MINEPDED and the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF).
“They are future decision makers at the level of general administration, customs, taxation and magistracy. For them to take such decisions within the framework of global existing legislation, they must know the Cameroonian component of such texts. It is, therefore, better to get them acquainted with such texts on the environment at the base, rather than discovering such while already on the field. Field discovery sometimes leads to an inappropriate decision,” Etoga stated.
While the theme of the 47th World Environment Day was “Air Pollution,” the conference in ENAM was on “the state of the environment in Cameroon.”
Responding to a question on whether the environment in Cameroon is receiving the attention it deserves, Etoga referred to the State budget and the packages allocated to the sectoral ministries, notably: MINEPDED and MINFOF.
“What is allocated is inadequate compared to other ministries. It is not the choice that is bad, for the State has the right to decisions based on its priorities from basic needs such as education, health to infrastructure; and progressively moves to other sectors. What we are saying is that, in terms of development in all the sectors, sustainability must be taken into account which entails three key points which are: environmental, social and economical,” the WWF Programme Manager told reporters.
He reiterated that WWF works closely with Government at the policy, strategic and operational levels. He mentioned the 1994 Law on the forest which is currently under review, stating that WWF is making substantial inputs. He disclosed that they are also working with MINEPDED on the framework law.
“After the legislative and policy framework, we get into the operational phase, and we are involved in this daily.
You must have noticed that WWF is planted in the most interior parts of the country and this is so because we strongly believe in working in proximity with the local population,” Etoga stated.
Admitting that the environment is under threats, the Director of the Centre for Information and Documentation on the Environment, Rigobert Ntep, said the situation is not as bad, for, Government is tackling the issues. He said the State of the environment of Cameroon would be exhaustively presented in a report to be ready towards the end of this year.
On the choice of ENAM for the conference, Ntep said it presents the best venue for such an event, considering that the students who are future magistrates who will be charged with implementing the law on the environment with support from the specialised judicial police; customs and taxation officers will be monitoring what is leaving or coming into the country while civil administrators will be coordinating actions of administrators in their areas of jurisdiction.
“Thus, the future cream of the nation is found here, and it is therefore important that they are initiated in issues of the environment from the onset,” he remarked.
Ntep talked of the efforts Government is making to restore some 12 million hectares of degraded land.
WWF and GIZ also used the event to highlight what their institutions are doing in the domain of environmental protection alongside the Government of Cameroon.