[one_third][/one_third]Adequate training in environmental education, agroforestry, biodiversity conservation and environmental reporting can bring about sustainable development in the country, says Blessing Limbi Tata, Deputy Director in Charge of Forestry and Agroforestry at the ERuDeF Institute of Biodiversity and Non-profit Studies (ERuDeF Institute).
Limbi Tata made this statement recently at during an Open Door Day organised at the institute to mark the 2015 edition of the International Day of Biodiversity celebrated under theme “Biodiversity and Sustainable Development”.
The Deputy Director was addressing officials from the Southwest Regional Delegation of the Ministry of Environment Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED), Southwest Regional Delegation of Employment and Vocational Training (MINEFOP), environmental clubs of GBHS Muea and BGS Molyko, the Environmental Science Students Association (ESSA) and the Botany Students Association (BOTSA) of the University of Buea.
Prior to this declaration, some 26 water shade trees (mahogany) were planted at the Mile 18 water catchment under the patronage of the Southwest Regional Delegate of MINEPDED, Set Ekwadi Songue, the Southwest Regional Delegate of MINEFOP, and the Chief of Wonya Mavio.
While leading the tree planting exercise, a first-year Agroforestry Masters student at the ERuDeF Institute, Ebob-Ntui Michelin, said the tree planting exercise is to boast the volume of water supply and provide fresh water to the over four communities that depend on this catchment for drinkable water.
She said some agroforestry tree species would be planted as live fences around the young water shade trees.
The Regional Delegate of MINEPDED, while officially opening the day, congratulated the ERuDeF Institute on her efforts in training the country’s conservation leaders.
He also expressed delight at the initiative taken by ERuDeF Institute to protect one of the major water catchments in the municipality, imploring the students to take proper care for the trees.
His counterpart of MINEFOP, challenged all present to develop the culture of tree planting and the desire to take up professional programmes in the field of biodiversity conservation.
He said tree planting and protection of water sources are imperative if sustainable development must be achieved in Cameroon.
To make the day more worthwhile and memorable, trainees of the ERuDeF Institute exhibited a number of environment-related issues at Institute.
The trainees used pictures, charts and other gadgets to explain how agroforestry practices including but not limited to forest gardening, grafting, marcoting, and alley cropping operate, underscoring how speedy each of these agroforestry practices, can induce sustainable development.
“The practice of the agroforestry system does not only aid in increasing agricultural productivity and alleviating poverty, it also aids in keeping the ecosystem intact,” said Ndutu Marie, a second-year agroforestry trainee.
Trainees at the Education for Development exhibition Stand underscored the need for proper waste management if sustainable development must be achieved in Cameroon. Using demonstrative pictures and charts, they explained that waste bottles could be reused to grow vegetables or cleaned and used to package and sell local drinks instead of polluting the environment.
Meanwhile, trainees of Biodiversity Conservation used pictures and charts to explain the role of biodiversity in sustainable development, possible threats to biodiversity conservation in the Southwest Region and some measures for mitigation.
They also projected charts with rich biodiversity conservation inscriptions like ‘”Every living organism has the right to live…”, “Protecting biodiversity is protecting yourselves,” “The world will be a better place if humans and animals live together in harmony,”.
The Environmental Journalism stand exposed present ways through which environmental journalists can as well contribute towards the sustainable development of the country.
A power point presentation was screened on the theme of the Day “Biodiversity and Sustainable Development” with a call to Cameroonians to revalue their choices and lifestyles to provide space for the species that inhabit Earth.
School with environmental clubs in and around Buea, and students’ associations from the University of Buea were also engaged in an essay competition on the theme of the International Day of Biodiversity and quizzes with prizes awarded to best clubs and associations as well as students.