UNESCO in Yaoundé & GWP-Cameroon team up to advance IRWM in Cameroon.

The UNESCO regional office for Central Africa, and Global Water Partnership Cameroon organized, an IWRM capacity building workshop for officials and experts from national institutions. This took place from June 13-16, 2016 in Mbalmayo, Cameroon. The workshop treated the concepts, principles and tools of the IWRM approach in water resources management and development, in the context of climate change in Cameroon.

 

Over twenty participants water professionals and practitioners attended the workshop. They came from the following ministries : Ministry of Water and Energy; Economy, Planning and Regional Development; Agriculture; Territorial Administration and Decentralization, Environment, Protection of Nature  and Sustainable Development; Ministry of Fisheries and Animal husbandry;  from 5 civil society organizations among which 3 are GWP-Cameroon formal partners and decentralized territorial councils of Yaounde and Douala.  The workshop was facilitated by a lecturer of the University of Dschang, partner too.

 

The 4 day-workshop whose overall objective was to enable national experts improve the coordination of IWRM and climate change related activities  as well as to enable key stakeholders more involved in the ; development process of the National Action Plan  for ; to discuss and understand the conduct of an IWRM planning process in Cameroon and its evolution.

It also served as a platform for experience sharing for better understanding of the SDGs and their targets in relationship with climate change.

 

Four mains modules constituted the roadmap of the meeting: Introducing IWRM, IWRM implementation and planning process, the effective participation of stakeholders in IWRM and the water resources monitoring.  

These modules were, in turn, developed under several themes such as water resources issues in the world, in Africa and in Cameroon in connection with the International Hydrological Program (IHP) of UNESCO which shed light on the threats on water resources and the different initiatives to overcome these threats; the IWRM planning process in Cameroon and the challenges related to its implementation; the analysis and categorization of the players/stakeholders; the setting up of the IWRM platform from the experience of IUCN; and quantitative water resources monitoring.

These different exposés aimed at getting stakeholders on the same page of better understanding of the Cameroon hydrology and hydrogeology in relationship, the impacts of climate change on water resources on the one hand, sharing experiences on the conduct and evolution of IWRM planning process at national level and strengthening the capacities of participants to better use tools and indicators to measure the progress made in implementing IWRM (MERQURE).

These presentations also enabled participants to understand to what extent the IWRM implementation in Cameroon is and to follow up the process of finalization of the National Action Plan for IWRM and that elaboration of the Cameroon national water policy which is underway.

Field visits to the Cameroon water treatment plant of Akomnyada and to the hydrometric station of Nyong in Mbalmayo which were organized, were the major events of this meeting. These field visits enabled participants understand the different steps of the conventional water treatment, fitted to developing countries and also to see how hydrometric data were produced and collected for the purpose of water resources monitoring in the context of climate change.  These field visits were opportunities for participants to move from theory to practical cases.

It came out during this workshop that the implementation of IWRM needed human investment and financial resources as well as the endorsement of national institutions in charge of implementing IWRM. In addition, hydrometric data are very important for quantitative water resources monitoring.

The Resident Representative of the regional office of UNESCO in Yaounde, M Loiteohin Félix YE, who attended the closing ceremony, welcomed the work done in the framework of IWRM and Climate Change in Cameroon and underlined the importance of water resources for the humanity. “Water and Land are the two essential elements for our existence. Without water, Land alone, sometimes refuses to be more nourishing. That’s why water is the most important thing” he said.

Recommendations:

  • Continue advocating with the government for the setting up of the national committees and focal points for the IHP in order to boost its implementation in Cameroon;
  • Explore opportunities to further involve the Civil Society Organizations (CSO) in the process of IWRM in Cameroon;
  • Embedding stakeholders in the process of preparation of Cameroon National Water Policy and make sure it includes IWRM and Climate Change (CC).