On Thursday February 13, 2020,the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) represented by the President/CEO; Mr. Nkembi Louis and World Botanical Exchange and Services (WBES) represented by the Founder/CEO; Mr. Nkuinkeu Robert organised a collaboration meeting which took place at the ERuDeF Headquarter,Buea. The collaboration meeting which was aimed at laying down modalities and working conditions of the two parties, was coordinated by the Acting Director of the Social Business Division,Mr. Eni Donatus.
In 2018-2019, the government of Cameroon tried to strengthen the collaboration with the private sectors concerning the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) process, by organizing sectoral meetings. This was mainly because without the private sector, the ABS process cannot be feasible. Therefore, the key to the success of the ABS process is the private sector. The government has also organized sectoral meetings with Universities, NGOs and some selected companies, to build the database of companies that are directly involved in the biodiversity business in Cameroon. Within the same framework, GIZ COMIFAC has also been supporting the ABS process at the regional level.ERuDeF finds interest to persuade the government of Cameroon to create a fund, that will support the ABS process even in the absence of external funding.
WBES has been into business with most companies involved in the biodiversity products or resources. Based on the experience from Echinops giganteus and Mondia whitei in Lebialem, it will be exciting to have companies similar to that owned by Mr. Michel Mane, who is operating both as a Foundation (Mane foundation) and a company (V. Mane and Fils SA), to effectively sponsor or facilitate the ABS process. Therefore, the working relationship between ERuDeF and WBES was seen in three perspectives:
- To develop a mutual and legal relationship between ERuDeF and WBES;
- To develop a mutual and legal relationship between ERuDeF/WBES and the companies that would have accepted to comply with the ABS process; and
- Sign a partnership between ERuDeF/WBES and the government of Cameroon.
The partnership between ERuDeF and WBES was agreed to examine the following thematic areas, though not exhausted:
- Database development of species and the respective companies,
- Sensitization meetings with the companies and where applicable, local communities,
- Establishment of a Community Bio-protocols,
- Creating community-based institutions to oversee the work of ABS in each of the communities where the project may be available,
- Training and building the capacities of communities to the key issues in enunciating ABS protocol,
- Strengthening the process of ABS policy development in the country,
- Support companies to development ABS components,
WBES pledged her readiness to collaborate with ERuDeF for the promotion of the ABS process in particular and the conservation of biodiversity resources in general.