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Sunday, March 29, 2015

National Assembly: Hon. Awudu’s Private Member Bill on Wetland, Watershed, Protection Impresses Chairman’s Conference

Hon. Awudu Mbaya: Climate Change Campaigner 

Hon. Awudu Mbaya Cyprian, Questor at the National Assembly cum Executive President of Pan African Parliamentarians Network on Climate Change-PAPNCC is expected to defend a private member bill in Cameroon parliament on why wetlands, catchment areas and watersheds should be given the same protection like humans. The bill submitted by Hon. Awudu Mbaya got a passed mark in the Chairman’s Conference of the National Assembly to go into record as the first ever private member bill to have reached that level. In his capacity as Executive President of PAPNCC, Hon Awudu says if water as they say is life, there is a great need for water sources to be protected from harmful human activities. “We are facing serious water crisis in the country due to the fact that there is no law prohibiting human activities in and around water sources. Harping on the importance of water in mitigating the phenomenon of Climate Change, Hon. Awudu said that the situation could even be more precarious if all these areas are not protected.
Harping on this year’s International Water Day’s theme Hon. Awudu emphasized that the theme “Water and Sustainable Development”, is intended to highlight its role in the sustainable development agenda. He also added that although around 71 percent of the earth surface is covered with it, fresh water constitutes only 2.53 percent of the total amount. Surprisingly, most of it exists in the North and South Poles as ice. The real available freshwater resources in the world comprise only 0.2 percent. As a result, he continued, freshwater is becoming more and more valuable following the increase of population. From food and energy security to human and environmental health, water contributes to improvements in social well-being and inclusive growth, affecting the livelihoods of billions. The importance of water in human existence cannot be overestimated, he concluded.
Why MPs Should Endorse It
Water is life; it has no colour and knows no political party. It is a universal commodity that everyone relies on for survival. Coming barely few weeks after the International World Water Day was commemorated on March 22, 2015, expectations are high at that Cameroonian MPs will throw their weight behind the Bill. Worthy to note that the day has been observed since 1993 when the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed it as a day for sensitisation of the public on the critical issues of water and how it affects humanity. It is a necessity for health, sanitation, industries, agriculture and maintaining a balanced ecosystem. Yet, it is being depleted at a rate never ever seen since the beginning of civilisation. Everywhere, groundwater table is declining at alarming rate due to over extraction. This has put people to arsenic threat. In Cameroon, about three million people lack access to improved water sources.
It has resulted to the outbreak of periodic water borne diseases such as cholera and diarrhea due to inadequate water and neglect of water sources. Even studies on worst-case scenarios have warned that wars between communities will be fought over fresh water supplies. Therefore there is the need for policies to promote water conservation and support the protection of Wetlands, catchment areas and watersheds. Alarmingly, the problem of water shortage is getting worse due to asymmetrical rainfall accredited to climate change and a global water demand that is projected to soar by 55 percent within 15 years. It is time Cameroon MPs reflect this urgency as time is running out. Definitely, there is need to do whatever is necessary to secure the future and avert a disastrous one. 


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