Government is exploiting both country-specific and global initiatives to mitigate the effects of climate change
Climate Change has not only led to instability in Cameroon’s weather but has also severely altered the quantity of rainfall and sunshine, leading to severe floods and droughts across the country. This disruptions resulting from the El Niño and La Niña weather phenomena have equally affected food production from the Northern Sahel regions down to the rainy Southern regions. In a 2017 Africa regional overview on food security and nutrition, Bukar Tijani, Assistant Director-General of the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), says the ongoing El Niño and La Niña, with their related droughts and floods, are considered the worst since the turn of the century, in terms of severity and extent. He says compounded with economic shocks, civic strife, and conflicts, climate change may reverse years of progress made by African governments to guarantee food security and adequate nutrition.
But climate change is more than just a Cameroonian or African problem. For instance, the Atlantic Ocean is said to have recorded its strongest storms in history this September; like Hurricane Irma, Tropical Storm Jose and Tropical Storm Katia in the Gulf of Mexico and the waters of the Caribbean. In early 2017, new data from the U.K Met (meteorology) Office, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) showed earth’s temperature has increased to about 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels.
Richard Munang, Regional Climate Change Coordinator at UN Environment says this is dangerously close, just 0.4°C away from the 1.5°C threshold set by the Paris Agreement to prevent worsening climate change effects. Though world leaders reached the Paris Agreement as a way of handling climate change as a global problem, a recent threat by US President Donald Trump may jeopardize the effort.
The US pledged $2billion circa FCFA1, 096billion to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) which is a product of the Paris Agreement (of a total pledge of $10.3billion circa FCFA5,500billion). With President Trump threatening to quit the agreement, the US may not honour its pledge, reducing to $8.3billion (circa FCFA4,403billion), the total pledge to be shared to 197 member countries of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Cameroon recently borrowed $300 000 as preparatory funds to access the GCF. Besides depending on the fund and other global initiatives, government has been taking unilateral measures such as securing loans, to rehabilitate the Yaounde Municipal Lake, extending the 2.4km canal on the Mfoundi River by 2.6 km. The stream which runs across the capital city often overflows and causes floods during heavy downpours. The Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development, has been doling out millions annually to support environment-friendly projects such as ‘Operation Green Sahel’ which seeks to fight against desertification.