Africa Regional Meeting in preparation of Ramsar COP10, Cameroon, 26-30 November 2007
Africa Regional Meeting in preparation for Ramsar COP10
Yaoundé, Cameroon, 26-30 November 2007
His Excellency Chief Ephraim Inoni, Prime Minister and Head of Government of the Republic of Cameroon, graced the opening ceremony of the African regional meeting in preparation for the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the Ramsar Convention as chair of the ceremony. In his welcome speech, he assured the delegates representing the countries of the African continent and other participants at this meeting of the profound honour of the Cameroon government and nation to receive and assist them during this meeting and equally to welcome them to Cameroon, the "microcosm of Africa". He likened the massive representation of the African continent at this meeting to the keen interest in the Ramsar Convention and thus the common goal for preservation of wetlands.
A few global values and functions of wetlands which he highlighted include:
- Flood regulation and protection against other natural disasters
- Stabilization of coastlands and control of erosion
- Stabilization of local climate
- Ecological hot spots
- Water purification and storage
- Provision of resources such as fish, forest, fauna, tourist potentials,
He equally highlighted the particular benefits of the Waza Logone floodplains (the first designated Wetland of International Importance in Cameroon) as a source of resources for the subsistence of over 85 % of the surrounding population and as an ecological hotspot for the wetland ecosystem and all of West and Central Africa.
The theme of COP10, "healthy wetlands, healthy people", was evoked while calling on the participants to seize the opportunity of this brainstorming meeting to highlight the strong correlation between healthy wetland ecosystems and human health.
The Prime Minister complimented the steps taken by the Cameroon Ministry of Environment and Nature Protection towards ensuring the wise use and management of the wetlands of the country, thanks to the concerted leadership of the Head of State, His Excellency Paul Biya:
- The designation of two wetlands of international importance
- Creation of a National Wetlands Committee
- The accomplishment of an inventory of wetlands in Cameroon which has identified 65 potential wetlands of international importance throughout the nation
- The present move towards drafting a national wetlands strategy
Special acknowledgement and appreciation was conveyed for the material and financial support of the Governments of Switzerland, Sweden and Cameroon, the United Nations Environmental Program, the Biosphere Connection initiative, and WWF International, amongst others.
-- Evelyn Parh Moloki, Ramsar
Prime Minister H.E. Ephraim Inoni (photo: government of Cameroon)
Prime Minister H. E. Ephraim Inoni, Secretary General Anada Tiéga