Civil society push for urgent climate change legislation in Cameroon

17 July 2017 Author :   Elias Ntungwe Ngalame
Demand for climate jistice

YAOUNDE, Cameroon (PAMACC News) - A coalition of civil society in Cameroon known as “Cameroon Climate Change Working Group” is pushing for the adoption of climate change legislation in the country as a viable tool to promote and ensure climate justice.

The Climate Change working Group says bringing attention to the growing abuse of agro-giants in vulnerable communities, including how big companies  are influencing governments’ environment policies and threatening to undermine the wellbeing of these communities especially in rural areas are potentially devastating and far-reaching for both the people and the environment.

The civil society say they are set to lobby members of parliament and senate to push for the establishment of a bill that will put laws in place to make climate change a high-priority for the current government and future governments to come.

“We are identifying priority areas for legislative initiative for climate change and also looking at some quality legislative response to climate change,” noted Eugene Nforngwa of Bio-resource and Development Centre at the opening of a one day interested partners’ reflection on climate legislation in Cameroon.

The workshop held under the coordination of Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, PACJA-Cameroon held on July 7, 2017 at Centre Jean XIII Mvolye in Yaounde.

According to Augustin Njamnshi of the Cameroon chapter of PACJA, the world will be tackling climate change on many fronts, and by creating a national and international legal framework for action, development actors can at least ensure there are structures in place to support this fight.

“In close collaboration with local law makers, experts and civil society stakeholders are seeking to provide hands-on assistance to create climate legislation in particular and other climate policy frameworks whether this is an overarching climate law or an amendment to existing legislation that effectively protects human rights and livelihood,” Augustine Njamnshi said.

He noted that in many African countries people still relied heavily on the immediate environment for their livelihood and have subsequently become particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

“We need safeguards to ensure that legislative responses are pro-poor, equitable and the results of a transparent, participatory and inclusive process. An insufficient of domestic legal expertise and resources may further hinder the development adequate legislation,” Njamnshi noted.

The experts recalled that a Presidential decree of 2009 established the National Climate Change Observatory (ONACC) as a national legal implementing body of climate change policies.

The structure places under the Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development that supervises and ensure the overall co-ordination of climate change activities and policies within the country.

Accordingly the organs has as responsibilities  to establish relevant climate indicators for monitoring environmental policy carry out prospective analyses to provide a vision on climate change,  provide weather and climate data to all sectors concerned and to develop annual climate balance of Cameroon.

It also has as role to educate and promote studies on the identification of indicators, impacts and risks of climate change, collect, and provide policy makers, national and international organisations information on climate change in Cameroon and initiate activities to promote awareness on and provide information to prevent climate change, serve as operational instrument in the context of other activities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions among others.

Unfortunately the above structure is still to go fully operational, translating the absence of a strong political drive backed by legislation.

Cameroon like many other countries in the world need a tailored approach, reflecting the specific needs and circumstances of jurisdiction, they noted.

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