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Gov’t Installs Control System For Modified, Alien Species 

By Nformi Sonde Kinsai

Government, through the Ministry of Environment and Protection of Nature, MINEP, has installed a monitoring and control system for Living Modified Organisms (LMO) and Invasive Alien Species (IAS).

Members of the project team, headed by the Technical Adviser No 1 in MINEP, Prudence Galega, as well as the Advisory Committee, were installed at the Yaounde Mont Febe Hotel recently by the Minister Delegate in MINEP, Dr. Nana Aboubakar Djalloh. The event was also marked by a workshop.

Presenting an overview of the project, Galega, who is also the Project Coordinator, stated that in terms of quantity and variety, Cameroon is blessed with about 92 percent of Africa’s ecosystems. She talked of Cameroon’s commitment to protect and preserve wildlife species as she mentioned the country’s ratification of Convention on Biological Diversity, the Cartegena Protocol on Biosafety, CITES and other national instruments.

She said the IAS and LMOs have been identified as being of significant threats to biodiversity.
According to her, LMOs are brought about by new combinations of genetic materials obtained through biotechnology, while IAS are species introduced into the environment either intentionally or unintentionally.

She outlined the effects to include potential harm to the environment, economies and human health. The Technical Adviser said key issues contributing to increasing LMOs and IAS in the country could be attributed to porous borders that make the control of their entry difficult.

She also cited the ineffective implementation of bio-security laws, lack of a risk-based management approach and insufficient information and knowledge on IAS and LMOs as some of the problems the project team has to grapple with. Galega said they would be working hard to increase capacities, establish effective policy and institutional framework for prevention and control.

Other moves would include development and implementation of sustainable strategies, ensuring the functioning of the bio-security laws as well as engage an intense information and awareness creation campaign. Galega announced that the project would cost some US $ 11.2 million with funding coming from the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP.

She told participants that funding and co-funding mechanisms from within the country and by technical ministries have been envisaged. Dr. Djalloh, on his part, said the main objective of the project is to support Cameroon in putting in place the Cartegena Protocol on the prevention of risks emanating from biotechnologies. He also talked of the building of national capacities in order to control the introduction and propagation of the LMOs and IAS.

While noting that Cameroon is ranked fourth in the world in terms of richness in flora and fifth in fauna, Dr. Djalloh said IAS constitutes a serious threat to biodiversity, reason why eradicating its management has been identified as a priority in the National Biodiversity Action plan. Other speakers at the occasion included representatives from UNEP and the World Conservation Union, IUCN.

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