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Situation on municipalities in Cameroon and the fight against climate change


In Cameroon, the natural environment with its considerable resources (forestry, minerals, agriculture and fisheries) is the main economic asset (IPCC, 2007). Climate change, which is directly or indirectly attributed to human activity and alters the composition of the global atmosphere, is a threat to this environment and consequently to sustainable development (MEPN, 2008). Indeed, agricultural, pastoral, fisheries and forestry activities in some municipalities appear to be more sensitive and vulnerable to the impacts of climate change due to droughts, floods or heat waves (Wilcke & al., 2007). In this perspective, each municipality should address this issue and develop strategies at the local level to cope with the changes caused by climate change.


This article does not only present the manifestations, causes and effects of climate change, but also sheds light on the adapted interventions in the local context of municipalities in Cameroon.

Manifestations and causes of climate change:

Climate change is manifested through delayed and scarce rainfall, excess rain over a short period of time, persistent drought, shortening of the rainy season, increased wind speed and year-round heat (Aho & al., 2006).

Among the various causes of climate change in Cameroon, the following stand out:

Air pollution: The numerous sources of pollution are linked to transport (61% of emissions), to combustion (cooking, heating or lighting, which concerns 90% of the population), burning of rubbish, massive use of diesel generators, industries including petrochemical plants (Ogouwalé, 2006).

Water pollution:The two main phenomena responsible for water pollution are rapid industrialisation and urbanisation. Industries do not seem to be willing to deal with their liquid or gaseous effluents before they are discharged into the natural environment. Wastewater treatment plants exist, but are not adapted to the general local conditions, which affects their operation and thus their purification capacity, which becomes poor.

Soil pollution: Soil pollution is diffuse or local, industrial and particularly agricultural following the massive use of fertilisers or pesticides which infiltrate the soil.

Household waste: The average production of solid household waste per person and per day has decreased to between 500 and 600g in 2006 (MINEP, 2006). Despite the rigour of waste collection and management institutions, household solid waste is still largely discharged into uncontrolled landfills i.e. 60% of waste in Yaounde, which has at least 56 uncontrolled landfills. One major problem is the open burning of waste, which causes severe air pollution with consequences on environmental and human health.

Widespread deforestation: This is due to the growing needs of the population for agricultural land (agriculture constitutes 80% of Cameroon) and various wood products (MEPN, 2008).

Effects of climate change:

Among the main disastrous events of climate change we have a greater threat to food security, reduced access to water resources, reduced productivity of natural resources, biodiversity loss, declining health, land degradation, intensified desertification and coastal erosion… (AfDB,2012).

Some good practices to fight against climate change:

1. Inform, educate and mobilise the population of Cameroon to help them adapt to climate change;

2. Build consolidation centres and review the waste management system;

3. Integrate climate change adaptation into national sectoral strategies and policies;

4. Develop value chains based on timber and non-timber forest products for the benefit of vulnerable local populations;

5. Provide environmental education in order to increase appreciation of natural resources, climate change mitigation and the environment;

6. Improve existing tools for environmental and climate impact analysis in investment projects;

7. Reduce the vulnerability of the population to climate change in the country's main agro-ecological sectors and areas;

8. Promote the sustainable use of forest resources and biodiversity in municipalities;

9. Improve the general conditions for policy dialogue and the enhancement of forest resources;

10. Involve rural stakeholders in discussions meant to identify environmental and climate solutions.

Bibliographic elements:

1. Banque africaine de développement, (2012). "Les Solutions pour le changements climatique”, Report

2. Aho, N., Ahlonsou, E. & Agbahungba, G. (2006). "Évaluation concertée de la vulnérabilité aux variations actuelles du climat et aux phénomènes météorologiques extrêmes”. Synthesis report. PANA-Benin/ MEPN-UNDP, Cotonou, p52.

3. MEHU (2003). ”Stratégie nationale de mise en œuvre au Bénin de la Convention Cadre des Nations Unies sur les Changements climatiques”, Cotonou, p80.

4. Ogouwalé, E. (2006). ”Changements climatiques dans le Bénin méridional et central : indicateurs, scénarios et prospective de la sécurité alimentaire”. Single Doctoral Thesis, LECREDE/ FLASH/ EDP/ UAC, p302.

5. MEPN (2008) “Programme d’Action National d’Adaptation aux changements climatiques du Bénin” (NAPA-Benin). Cotonou, p81.

6. IPCC (2007) Summary for Policymakers. In M.L. Parry, O.F. Canziani, J.P. Palutikof, P.J. van der Linden & C.E. Hanson, (eds.), “Climate change 2007: Impacts, adaptations and vulnerability. Working Group II Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change”. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Joseph ATANGANA, CDBPS-H, Juilly 2022

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