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Nigeria, Cameroon sign agreement on trans-boundary ecosystems conservation

Nigeria and the Government of the Republic of Cameroon have signed a cooperation framework on trans-boundary ecosystems conservation and sustainable management of forestry and wildlife resources.

The agreement was signed by the Minister of Environment, Balarabe Lawal, alongside the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, Cameroon, Jules Ndongo, on Friday in Abuja.

The agreement’s implementation aims to supervise and coordinate identified areas of cooperation, ensure special protocols are consistent with identified areas of cooperation, collaborate in the implementation of common trans-boundary programmes, and develop the institutional and mobilization of funds for the implementation of common transboundary programmes.

According to the 2023 wildlife chapter of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s Organised Crime Threat Assessment for Nigeria, Nigeria serves as a key transit hub and consolidation point for various forms of illegal trade in wildlife and forest products, especially for pangolin, ivory, and rosewood.

The UNODC highlighted that these products were sourced both from Nigeria as well as from other countries in the region, including Cameroon, Gabon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, and the Benin Republic.

In his keynote address, Lawal stated that Nigeria and Cameroon share a common vision on the best approach towards the protection, conservation, and sustainable utilization of natural resources. He noted that apart from the global phenomenon of climate change and environmental challenges, social factors, including overpopulation, poverty, and food insecurity, have continued to threaten these resources with extinction.

He pledged that Nigeria would play its part in ensuring the successful implementation of the agreement.

On his part, Ndongo mentioned that there was a great deal of trade between the two countries, especially among those living on either side of a common border. He noted that some of the transactions involve the exploitation and marketing of timber, non-timber forest products, and bush meat.

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