Cameroon: WWF to stem the tides of illegal logging?

Despite the current efforts by the World Wide Fund for Nature, WWF, to
stem the tides of illegal logging and unscrupulous hunting of wild
animals in Cameroon, WWF Country Director, Dr. Martin Chamba, says the
phenomenon remains high. “We have won some battles in the war for
environmental and wildlife protection. We are yet to win the war,” Dr.
Chamba told journalists in a press briefing in Yaounde over the
weekend. He said after 20 years of its existence in Cameroon, WWF is
facing full-fledged mutations, mapping out new strategies to tackle
its challenges in conservation.

He said the organisation was taking
new network initiatives to continue to conserve nature for the good of
mankind. To him, the WWF initiative would be concentrated more in
Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, the DRC, Congo Brazzaville and the
Central African Republic. WWF will hinge its activities in priorities
areas, taking into consideration the local realities. Thus, WFF aims
at working with the various stakeholders to mainstream the fight
against the illegal exploitation of flora and fauna and environmental
degradation in national policies. Dr. Chamba said it is unfortunate
that Cameroon’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, PRSP, presses for
more exploitation of forest and environmental resources but makes no
provisions for conservation. To him, government ought to have taken
conservation issues into account. The outfit is also initiating
durable funding. It intends to create a trust fund that will ensure
the payment of environmental services. This would mean using the debt
relief mechanism to lobby in such a way that some of the money from
debt cancellation should be put in a special fund for the payment of
environmental services. He said, for instance, that the people of
Kumba should be compensated for preserving Lake Barombi. He said the
initiative holds that a company like the Cameroon Water Corporation,
CAMWATER, should reward the people of Kumba for protecting the lake
and saving the ecological integrity of the place. According to Dr.
Chamba, WWF will intensify partnership with the private sector to
improve environmental governance. This means liaising with MPs and
civil society organisations to influence a change in policy.

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