Cameroon has learnt that it will have no access to funds to be made available to combat the effects of global warming. Its exclusion from eligibility for some of the US $30 billion being raised is because the government has not signed the Copenhagen Accord, agreed by some countries late last year in the Danish capital at the end of the UN climate summit. Confirmation that Cameroon will not qualify for help came from the US. “Fast start financial agreements were announced with the intent of getting an agreement in Copenhagen. Countries that reject the overall effort – that say ‘no, I have no interest in your agreement, I want something different’ - I am not quite sure they should be part of this financing,” said the head of the US delegation at the latest round of negotiations here in Bonn, Dr Jonathan Pershing.
Developing countries were offered $30 billion over the next three years at the Copenhagen summit to let them start work immediately on climate adaptation, mitigation, technology transfer, capacity building and forest conservation. Most of the money is still to be made available by donors. In the long term, the stated intention is to provide $100 billion annually from 2020.
Asked why Cameroon had not signed the Accord, the head of its delegation, Dr. AMOUGOU Joseph Armathée, said: “I cannot answer that question.” He explained that after the Copenhagen summit the delegation made a proposal to the Prime Minister and President of Cameroon. The proposal, he said, outlined specific activities to be undertaken in the area of climate adaptation and mitigation in the country. So it is for the Prime Minister and possibly the Presidency to decide whether Cameroon signs the Accord or not. According to the UNFCCC Focal Point of, Dr AMOUGOU, Cameroon, signing it, however imperfect it may be, would constitute a first step towards a legally-binding agreement on tackling climate change.
Other African states have also not signed the Accord, in some cases apparently because of fundamental differences of principle with its key architects, including the US, UK and the European Union. In the case of Cameroon, Dr. AMOUGOU speculated that its failure to sign could be simply the result of bureaucracy. He acknowledged that Cameroon will miss out on the current funding offer. If this happens, it would mean that Cameroon may not have the money needed to continue work in many climate change adaptation and mitigation activities. Recognizing the urgency of securing eligibility for the funding, Dr AMOUGOU said he would initiate a letter to the Prime Minister through the Ministry of Environment and Nature Protection to inform him of the disadvantages of not signing the Accord.
Even though Cameroon is excluded from benefitting from the fast start financing now, it could still do so if it signs the Accord in future. Among the 191 countries that make up the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), 127 have signed. Zimbabwe, Sudan, Niger, Liberia, Egypt, Somalia, Libya, Sao Tome & Principe and Equatorial Guinea are among the few African countries that have not signed the Accord.