New Impetus for Cameroon’s Efforts to Accede to AEWA

Bonn/Yaoundé, 20 December 2016 – A multi-stakeholder consultation workshop took place in Yaoundé from 7 – 8 December 2016, with the aim of re-invigorating the national process for the accession of Cameroon to AEWA.

The workshop, which was co-organized by the Cameroon Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF) and the UNEP/AEWA Secretariat, with financial support from the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) in Switzerland, contributed to the implementation of Target 5.1 of the AEWA Plan of Action for Africa which aims to increase membership to AEWA. Presided over by the Inspector General at the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, the workshop brought together some 35 members of the national Committee responsible for the process of Cameroon’s accession to AEWA (AEWA Committee).  The Committee, established under MINFOF in 2007, includes stakeholders directly or indirectly involved in the process of Cameroon’s accession to AEWA and the eventual implementation of the Agreement in the country. Among the workshop participants were representatives from Governmental organizations including the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of External Relations, Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development, Ministry of Tourism and Leisure, Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries and Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation as well as from non-Governmental Organizations including the Cameroon Wildlife Conservation Society (CWCS) and National partners for BirdLife International, the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

“Cameroon is commonly referred to as “Africa in miniature”. This metaphor is equally relevant for waterbirds in the country. From the shores of Lake Chad, through the floodplains, to the banks of the Gulf of Guinea, Cameroon hosts a wide range of migratory waterbird species, including the African Skimmer (Rynchops flavirostris), Little Tern (Sternula albifrons), African Comb Duck (Sarkidiornis melanotos), Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca) and Black Crowned-crane (Balearica pavonina), which are all of conservation concern in the framework of AEWA. We look forward to soon welcoming the country within the AEWA network.”

Jacques Trouvilliez, Executive Secretary UNEP/AEWA Secretariat

The workshop offered an opportunity for stakeholder consultation, which is an essential prerequisite for the realization of the national accession process. It also strengthened awareness and understanding on the legal, technical, socio-economic and financial implications of acceding to AEWA and enabled an exchange of information on a variety of issues related to the national accession process. Existing national policies and strategies relevant for migratory waterbird conservation were highlighted as were existing and potential Protected Areas of relevance for waterbirds. The workshop participants developed a roadmap outlining the next steps necessary to complete the national accession process, with an indication of the responsible national authorities and timelines for each step. Cameroon’s express commitment towards the completion of the accession process was captured in a Final Communiqué.

Immediately following the workshop, was a field excursion to the Ebogo Tourism Centre, a Forest Reserve and Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar Site). The workshop participants thus gained first-hand experience of the biological, socio-economic and cultural values of Cameroon’s wetland and its associated resources, including waterbirds.

The workshop was preceded, on 6 December 2016, by bilateral talks between the AEWA Executive Secretary and the Secretary of State at MINFOF, as well as the Deputy Minister of External Relations. These meetings offered an opportunity to discuss and define common expectations for the workshop and assure engagement in accelerating the accession process.

Background information

Of the 254 migratory waterbird species covered under AEWA, Cameroon plays host to 111, 14 of which are classified as globally threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Often described as “Africa in miniature” due to its large diversity and representativeness of the continent in terms of climate, vegetation, landscape and culture, this central African country has 33 Important Bird Areas covering an area of 42,056 km2. Cameroon also has seven Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites), two of which were assigned this status due to their importance for waterbirds (WAZA Logone Floodplain and Rio Del Rey Estuary). In addition, 11 sites were identified, using the Critical Sites Network Tool, as being of key importance for the conservation of certain populations of mirgatory waterbirds. A detailed country profile is available in the BirdLife Data Zone.

Cameroon is also home to one of Africa’s leading wildlife management schools, the Garoua Wildlife College. In 2015, the college signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the College of Wildlife Management in Mweka, United Republic of Tanzania and Kenya Wildlife Service Training Institute in Naivasha, committing itself to including in its curriculum the training kit on the flyway approach to waterbird and wetland conservation. The kit was developed in the framework of the UNEP/GEF African-Eurasian Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) Flyways Project, which included AEWA as one of its key partners.

AEWA currently has 76 Contracting Parties, 35 of which are African countries.

Last updated on 09 May 2017

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