The one-day workshop on policy assessment for CSOs operating within the national territory is designed to build the capacity of CSOs to analyze and assess climate policies in a rigorous and systematic way. It covered the basics of climate policy evaluation, such as the criteria, methods, and tools for measuring policy effectiveness, efficiency, and equity. The training also gives an overview of the current climate policy situation in Cameroon, highlighting the main actors, instruments and processes involved in shaping the national response to climate change. The training enables CSOs to identify gaps and opportunities for influencing the policy agenda and advocating for more ambitious and inclusive climate action.
Climate Change Vulnerability and Impact in Cameroon
Cameroon, like many other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Cameroon is faced with several climate-related crises affecting its ecosystem and human population. Cameroon has made efforts to address climate change through policy measures such as National Climate Change Adaptation Plan and the National Determined Contributors under the Paris Agreement.
However, the implementation of these policies has not been effective and efficient. Therefore, there is a need for policy assessment by CSOs. While CSOs play a significant role in assessing climate policies and advocating for policy change, there are also limitations to what they can do, some of which are; little or no awareness or knowledge of various policies and a lack of proper assessment tools.
The country’s economy is heavily dependent on agriculture, which is particularly susceptible to changes in temperature and rainfall patterns. Climate change is therefore having significant socioeconomic, cultural and geopolitical impacts in Cameroon, particularly for rural communities.
According to Prof. Bring Christophe, Head of the Department of Studies, Projects and Cooperation at the Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED), Some of the specific impacts of climate change experienced in Cameroon in recent years are droughts, floods, deforestation, desertification, rising sea levels and loss of biodiversity. He goes further to mention that there exists a disparity of interest between those who are financially capable of addressing climate adaptation and those interested in the implementation.
According to Dr Augustine B. Njamnshi, chair of Political and Technical Affairs at PACJA and Executive Director of ACSEA, there exist environmental laws that favour climate change but there is need for a stand-alone Climate Laws in Cameroon. Therefore, the need for governments and CSOs to work in a symbiotic manner to benefit communities affected by climate crises. Climate laws should take a bottom-up strategy to ensure that the local communities which happen to be the most affected are incorporated into the formulation process.
Proposed Ministerial Roadmaps
Prof. Bring reiterates the need for proposing standalone climate laws taking into consideration existing environmental laws. As a point of focus, the proposal should be clear on areas like finance and monitoring modules to be sure it yields long-term results. Also, it will be more realistic if every ministry has a 20% resolution policy plan in their annual ministerial program devoted to climate change.
Current Climate Change Policy Framework of Cameroon
To address these challenges, Cameroon has developed various policy frameworks to address climate change, including its National Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (2015-2020) and the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) which was finalized in 2018. The NAP is aimed at identifying and prioritizing adaptation actions, and it provides a roadmap for implementing those actions in a coordinated and effective manner. The plan includes improving water management, promoting climate-resilient agriculture, and strengthening early warning systems for extreme weather events.
In addition to these national policies, Cameroon has also ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Paris Agreement, and the African Union Agenda 2063, which all aim to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Cameroon’s National Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan identifies six priority areas for action, including:
- Agriculture, forestry, and land use: Promoting sustainable land management practices, improving soil fertility, and reducing deforestation.
- Energy: Increasing access to clean and renewable energy sources, such as hydropower and solar energy.
- Water: Improving water management, including the development of small-scale water infrastructure and the promotion of water-efficient practices.
- Health: Strengthening health systems to manage the impacts of climate change better, particularly the spread of infectious diseases.
- Infrastructure: Promoting climate-resilient infrastructure, including roads, bridges, and buildings.
- Disaster risk reduction: Strengthening early warning systems, improving disaster preparedness, and promoting community-based approaches to disaster risk reduction.
Cameroon’s climate change policy framework is also supported by international initiatives, such as the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility, which provide funding and technical assistance for climate change adaptation and mitigation activities.
Objectives Of Policy Analysis Workshop
To scrutinize and properly examine climate policies in a rigorous and systematic way, there is a need for CSOs to be trained in policy analysis and how to write policy recommendations. The main objectives are to;
- Equip CSOs with the knowledge and skills needed to evaluate and analyze climate policies and their impact on climate stakeholders.
- Increase the capacity of CSOs in operating with various policy assessment tools.
Approaches To Policy Assessment
Mindful of the fact that policy assessment is a process of evaluating the effectiveness, efficiency, and equity of a policy or program. There are several approaches to policy assessment, including:
- Impact assessment: This approach seeks to determine the extent to which a policy or program has achieved its intended outcomes. Impact assessment typically involves comparing the outcomes of a group that has been exposed to the policy or program (the treatment group) with those of a group that has not (the control group).
- Cost-benefit analysis: This approach involves comparing the costs of a policy or program with its expected benefits. The cost-benefit analysis seeks to determine whether the benefits of a policy or program outweigh its costs, and it can help policymakers make decisions about resource allocation.
- Process evaluation: This approach focuses on the implementation of a policy or program, rather than its outcomes. Process evaluation seeks to determine whether a policy or program was implemented as intended and whether any problems or challenges arose during implementation.
- Comparative analysis: This approach involves comparing the outcomes of a policy or program with those of similar policies or programs in other jurisdictions or contexts. Comparative analysis can help identify best practices and areas for improvement.
- Stakeholder analysis: This approach seeks to understand the perspectives and interests of different stakeholders affected by a policy or program. Stakeholder analysis can help identify potential conflicts or trade-offs, and it can inform the design of policies and programs that are more inclusive and responsive to the needs of different groups.
The choice of approach to policy assessment will depend on the specific goals of the examination, the available data and resources, and the context in which the policy or program is being implemented.
As a way forward to improve climate laws in Cameroon, there is a need to:
- Involve youths and women in the policy formulation process as they happen to be more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
- Incorporate indigenous knowledge systems.
- Improve access to climate information and increase sensitization concerning climate policies.
- Increase advocacy for the development of standalone climate policies in Cameroon.