COP 21: Cameroonian farmer urges negotiators to draw inspiration from eco-village project

The Bafut Eco-village PHOTO: Mowah Sixtus Mbom.
The Bafut Eco-village PHOTO: Mowah Sixtus Mbom.

Joshua Konkankoh, Cameroonian farmer urges Paris aspirants’ to emulate his works in rural areas if they want to successfully implement short term goals and help poor people. Israel Bionyi writes from Doula, Cameroon

It is now less than 90 days to Paris COP21, another decisive moment where world powers will meet to discuss how to save the world from future apocalypse, as we continue to experience hostile temperatures and rise in sea levels.

Long term goals, innovative technology, renewables, long term goals, short term goals, loss and damage, adaptation, intended nationally determined contribution (INDC), resilience etc. are some common terms the Paris aspirants are going to quite often use to negotiate the deals.

In the meantime, Cameroon and other Sub Saharan countries continue to show their commitment by giving up on some unfriendly climate practices in production such as slash and burn, consumption and management of earth’s limited resources and are now embracing what is more sustainable and renewable.

But the ways of man seems not to be the ways of nature, the clock is ticking very fast, so too is the earth becoming warmer and unbearable for people as 2015 is already considered as the hottest year on record by scientists of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA).

However, scientists of the World Health Organization (WHO) say one of the major ways that climate change directly affects man is that it speeds up heat related diseases: cardiovascular illnesses and respiratory problems. And statistics from Cameroon’s Ministry of Public Health say more than 25percent of Cameroonians aged 15 and above suffer from respiratory problems.

Cameroonian authorities are aware of the heavy threat that climate change poses. That is why after the Minister of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development in Cameroon, Pierre Hélé prepared Cameroon’s agenda for COP21 in July, the country joint Ministers of The Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) on 27 August, 2015, in an extraordinary meeting in Libreville, Gabon to prepare the Central African position for Paris.

In Libreville, the Ministers called for legally binding and universal agreement on climate change in Paris this year and furthermore discussed several issues amongst which: the INDCs, Loss and Damage, Climate Finance, Adaptation and mitigation etc.

But Joshua Konkankoh thinks Paris negotiators can only attain real climate justice if they adopt a purely natural approach but most importantly use short term goals to tackle the damaging effects on the most vulnerable communities.

Joshua is a Cameroonian farmer who for the past 10 years has been developing local sustainable agricultural strategies that use indigenous knowledge systems to sort food crises and life-threatening poverty in rural communities. He also runs a unique Permaculture eco-village in Bafut- Cameroon where he trains farmers, students and youths how to lead eco-friendly lives and how develop sustainable agriculture.

Joshua will be joining the Technical Southern Africa Regional Workshop for Cities and Local Governments on the Durban Charter (DAC) organized under the auspices of ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) in Durban on 14-16 October to share his concept in the build up to Cop21.

Joshua urges Paris aspiring negotiators to emulate his works in order speed up climate actions for disfavored groups and quotes his Eco-village project as an example of work where he has successfully implemented a five year goal to realize something sustainable.“They could consider our ecological building developed in the north-West region.”  Joshua illustrates.

“Cameroon has plenty of local building materials and a rich tradition of using them. In our work we combine modern knowledge with traditional methods to create beautiful sustainable buildings.”  Joshua adds.


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