Green Connexion (GC) is an environmental group working for biodiversity conservation and environmental protection. For biodiversity conservation, its strategy is essentially modeled on the Global Conservation Strategy of the CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity) as well as the National Strategy and Action Plan for Biodiversity (NBSAP) in Cameroon. For the protection of the environment, GC complies with the Cameroonian law n ° 96/12 of 05 August 1996, framework law on environmental management, Title III, Chapter V on the management of natural resources and the conservation of biological diversity, Article 62.
During fiscal year 2018, Green Connexion has conducted several actions, and therefore the most important ones are:
– Participation as a partner in the national project entitled “Developing an accessible information system on biodiversity for sustainable development in Cameroon”.
– Continuation of the Ledermanniella strategy as part of the Nachtigal project.
– Preparation and participation in the celebration of the International Day of Biodiversity;
– Preparation and participation in COP 14 on biodiversity in Egypt.
II.1. Project “Developing an accessible information system on biodiversity for sustainable development in Cameroon”.
This project includes three major institutional actors: IUCN, Green Connexion and the Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED). It has three main objectives which are: 1) Establish and strengthen national biodiversity information facilities, with the expectation of increasing the national capacity to manage the biodiversity-related information in Cameroon 2) Increase the available data on biodiversity, during and after the fellowship period, with the expectation of establishing national biodiversity information facilities, including the establishment in Cameroon of infrastructure and information management committees at the national level, and 3) Publish biodiversity data to respond to national priorities.
II.1.1. Role of Green Connexion in the project
In general, Green Connexion was responsible for implementing the component “data mobilization and digitization” on floristic biodiversity in number and quality; more specifically :
– Make available to the project data on freshwater plants contained in its database;
– Establish a thematic map of potential data holders on the species identified in the project (edible fruits, freshwater plants, endangered and threathened, medicinal plants, rattan and raphias);
– Raise awareness and put in place memoranda of understanding for the provision of these data by their holders;
– Support and facilitate the establishment of the network of data holders;
– Participate in capacity building activities on the use of GBIF tools;
– Process, digitize and publish data collections from the GBIF IPT
– Produce periodic (technical and financial) reports on the missions listed above;
– Possibly support coordination and monitoring of the project if necessary.
II.1.2. Implementation of the component « data mobilization ».
The main members of Green Connexion responsible for this work were the Coordinator, an Assistant Researcher and a Computer Scientist. They have previously learned the Darwin Core language (which is a set of standards for biodiversity data sharing, developed by the international group Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) and which allows data owners to publish their information in a format (eg Darwin Core archives) that can be understood and used by all). Subsequently, they mobilized and digitized systematic and geographical data on Cameroon’s edible forest fruits; some freshwater plants from Cameroon; recent data on endemic and endangered plants; data on medicinal plants and finally data on rattans and raphias of Cameroon. For each category of data, a checklist was prepared as well as occurrence data.
Data mobilization was based on the collection of information from articles and documents published online. Sometimes, it was also based on the consultation of the herbarium samples. The table below presents the statistics on the number of data processed and published on the Cameroon GBIF interface.
Table. Statistics on digitized data.
|N°||Plants type||Category||Check list||Occurrence|
|1||Wild edible fruits||253||976|
|3||Threatened and Endangered plants||27||109|
|5||Rattans & Raphia||29||69|
Subsequently, the Green Connexion team was invited to take part in the workshop on capacity building and mobilization of biodiversity data holding institutions held in Douala from 05-07 December 2018. This workshop was aimed at strengthen the capacity of contributors to use the Biodiversity Information System (BIS) Interface and to make recommendations on the type and quality of data to be published. During this workshop, Green Connexion made a presentation on its involvement in the project and the statistics on data mobilized, digitized and published. Green Connexion also gave a presentation on the practical case study on IUCN’s Red List contribution. This presentation highlighted the need to give a conservation status to a species and presented the different steps leading to the allocation of conservation status.
II.2.1. Goals for Green Connection
The aim of this project was, according to the TOR, to continue prospecting for two species of Ledermaniella, namely L. sanagaensis and L. thalloïdea, and to collect the genetic material to be kept in a seed bank.
The areas to be surveyed included: the Sanaga River and its main tributaries upstream from the Nachtigal Falls, the Mbam River towards Bafia in several places considered suitable for their settlement, and finally the Mpem and Djim rivers in the Mpem and Djim National Park.
More specifically, during a 12-month period, there was a question of:
– Update the mapping of the up cited species in the areas impacted by the project;
– continue the prospection of these species and other associated species found in the rivers surveyed,
– To identify the botanical and reproductive characteristics of these species;
– To quantify the hydraulic conditions and the characteristics of the habitat where these species would be met and finally;
– To safeguard the genetic material of the two Ledermaniella species concerned in a seed bank at the National Herbarium of Cameroon and the Botanical Conservatory of Brest.
II.2.2. The implementation
II.2.2.1. Botanical prospecting and map updating
All watercourses targeted for advanced inventories in 2018 have been visited. This is Sanaga and its tributaries, Mbam, Mpem and Djim. Globally 21 stations were visited, including 8 new ones, which had not been visited in previous campaigns. On the Mbam, it is Biamo, Nchiaya, Nchiaya ferry and Bayomen; on the Djim it is Mekobim and Kampom; finally on the Mpem it is Mbom 1 and Mbom 2.
Most of the stations visited on the Mbam upstream of point 4.78˚-11.29˚ show no trace of Podostemaceae. Apart from these, the other points visited on the different rivers present species of aquatic plants in general and Podostemaceae in particular. Overall, 29 collections were made for a total of 14 taxa: Ledermanniella sanagaensis, Inversodicraea boumiensis, Ledermanniella linearifolia, Ledermanniella pusilla, Ledermanniella bifurcata, Ledermanniella sp., Ledermanniella sp. nov., Letestuella weaverantii, Tristicha trifaria, Dicraeanthus africanus, Dicraeanthus zehnderi, Leiothylax quangensis, Marsdenia abyssinica and Pistia stratiotes. Since fiscal year 2016, a new species (probably a new genus) had been found on the Mbam (Ledermanniella sp nov above). This species has also been found in 2018.
With regard to the target species Ledermanniella sanagaensis and L. thalloidea, the first was found on the Mbam in 2018 in Enangana and on the Sanaga in Nachtigal. These two points on these two rivers had already been recorded in previous campaigns, and no new populations of these species were found. Since the launching of the Lom Pangar dam, despite all the prospecting efforts provided, L. thalloidea has not been found either on the Sanaga or elsewhere during the various surveys.
Dry capsules of Ledermanniella sanagaensis were harvested from Mbam. This material was treated at the National Herbarium of Cameroon, and some of these seeds were transferred to the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens of the city of Brest (France).
II.2.2.2. Analysis of the biological and physico-chemical parameters
Although Ledermanniella linearifolia are larger than Ledermanniella sanagaensis (1 cm against 0.5 cm), they have a much higher density in the sterile state (about 180000 individuals / m2 compared to a maximum of 25000 individuals / m2 counted in 2015). It is possible that this density is less important in the dry season when the water level drops and the plant blooms.
Overall, both species share an identical ecology: Distance to shore (often less than 10 m), weak depth from bottom to the rock, same fixation rock (gneiss), flow facies fast etc.
The objective of this section was to determine the physico-chemical parameters of the waters in which the genus Ledermaniella develops on the Mbam and Sanaga rivers respectively in the cities of Bafia and Obala. Different parameters have been identified as playing an important role in the growth of these species. These factors include the effect of climate (dry season / rain) and environmental variables such as turbidity, conductivity, dissolved oxygen and temperature.
The genus Ledermaniella is a submerged benthic plant of the family Podostemaceae and plays an important role in the ecology of tropical rivers. The different attributes of Podostemaceae that are the primary production contributing to primary carbon, the important food source for aquatic herbivores (Gessner & Hammer 1962), their contribution in the absorption and release of nutrients and their participation as substrates for various assemblages of the microscopic epiphytic flora as well as for the wildlife habitat, make that the habitats of the species of this family deserve to be conserved and protected. This is why the waters of the Mbam and Sanaga rivers were sampled during the year 2018 during the months of April, August, September and October.
This preliminary work aimed at characterizing the groups of algae colonizing environments rich in Podostemaceae as well as those in relation to the roots of these plants revealed that the samples collected at the roots of Podostemaceae harbor a more diversified algal flora, essentially represented by Cyanobacteria, Chlorophytes and Dinophytes. Diatom diversity also showed high values for samples collected from the roots of Podostemaceae. Subject to further analysis of the samples collected during low water periods, these results suggest that there is some relationship or symbiosis between the algae and the roots of Podostemaceae.
International Biodiversity Day is held on May 22 each year. The theme of the celebration this year was “Celebrating 25 Years of Action for Biodiversity”. Green Connexion put a particular emphasis on the preparations for this day, which he then celebrated, together with the whole earth and in a pomp worthy of major events. Green Connexion, made up of about fifty of its members, paid courtesy visits, first to CIFOR (Center for International Forestry Research), then to WWF (World Wildlife Fund). It was a question of sharing with these organizations their experiences on biodiversity and discussing the future of the world.
Green Connexion subsequently participated, in collaboration with IUCN, in an exhibition held at the esplanade of MINEPDED-Cameroon (Ministry of the Environment and Nature Protection) for two days (from May 23 to 24, 2018).
Green Connexion was honored this year by being invited to participate in COP 14 (Fourteenth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)), held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, 17 – 29 November 2018. The theme of COP 14 was “Investing in Biodiversity for People and the Planet”. As an observer, if Green Connexion could not participate in the decisions (to take part in the votes), he could attend the sessions, participate in debates and, in this chapter, his long experience in the field of biodiversity conservation counted. By inviting Green Connexion and many other Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) around the world, the United Nations has relied on all its credibility resources to add value to the global event that’s COP 14.
This Thursday, November 29, 2018 will end in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt, the fourteenth biodiversity Conference Of Parties (COP 14). The theme of the conference this year was “Investing in Biodiversity for People and Planet”. Conference of the Parties? Yes, but not only. The nearly 3000 participants in the conference this year, from all over the world, are made up of the parties (so far 168 signatories of the Convention on Biological Diversity and 196 parties), observers, representatives of IGOs, NGOs , renowned scientists, civil society figures, public figures, politicians, journalists, etc.
Biodiversity is at the center of the meeting. Still, the conference of the parties is a good excuse that allows to gather for two weeks all the peoples of the world at the same place on the earth, to give them the opportunity to work together on the feasibility of a common goal. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), because of its essential and existential character for humans, is one of the biggest initiatives of the United Nations in the last 25 years. Beyond its ultimate goal of protecting, conserving and even restoring biodiversity, the Sharm El Sheikh Summit is finally a summit celebrating universality.
When the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi comes to inaugurate the launching of COP 14 activities on November 17, 2018, the observer that we are has the impression, founded or not, that his country is preparing this moment for a dozen years. In fact, the preparations seem to have been settled in the smallest details:
– The city of the conference
Egypt chooses the city of the conference on purpose. Indeed, next to its strategic position since nestled between the desert of the Sinai Peninsula and the Red Sea, Sharm el-Sheikh is a seaside town. It is famous for its secluded sandy beaches, clear waters and coral reefs. It is a strongly touristy city where many hotel formations sport up to 700 rooms.
– An appropriate environment
Opened at the beginning of 2006, the International Congress Center of Jolie Ville in Sharm El Sheikh is built to host large international meetings and it is appropriate to organize the COP 14. This center is remarkable for its facilities, especially a “Summit Room” with an area of 2200 square meters, more than 11 meeting rooms with an area ranging from 140 to 800 square meters, 6 VIP meeting rooms with an area of 55 square meters, cabins d modern audiovisual installations and an advanced lighting system. The entrance is 240 m2 and is equipped with a registration area. It is in this center that other international meetings such as the World Economic Forum and the International Youth Forum have been held.
– Security at the height of the event
The security of the COP 14 is ostensible or unobtrusive, ubiquitous, and even shocking. In addition to more than 100 armed UN peacekeepers in United Nations uniforms, plainclothes or uniformed, but still armed, hooded snipers provide uncompromising security. The reality is that we do not receive more than 196 delegations from virtually every five continents, like one would receive a neighbor during a courtesy visit. In addition, prominent Egyptian political figures came to the COP 14 meeting, namely the President of the Republic of Egypt and the Governor of South Sinai, which alone could justify a greater security effort. . However, we are in Sharm El Sheikh, and it is still fresh in memory that famous night of 22 – 23 July 2005, Egyptian National Day, where a series of seven almost simultaneous explosions made 88 dead and more than 200 wounded. Rather than being criticized, well thought out, faced with the same situation, this example deserves to be copied rather.
– A commendable effort
There is no perfect organization. However, we can say that Egypt’s effort in organizing the COP 14 can be appreciated. Although coastal, Sharm El Sheikh is not a particularly wet city, and even the visible sand dunes and bare lateritic domes extend to infinity. Yet, a stranger can easily appreciate the human efforts that have been provided recently to make the city more welcoming.
By organization, we refer to the introduction of the invitations in time, the diplomatic facilitation of obtaining visas, the organization of travel and accommodation, the reception of participants, transport etc. There is also a very important effort in social communication. Indeed, all the streets of Sharm El Sheikh as well as any corner of the International Congress Center of Jolie Ville are emblazoned with the signs of the COP 14. Plenaries and side events are organized with care.
The thirty items on the agenda have been executed. Of those entrusted to working groups, many have already been discussed in plenary, corrected and then adopted. The various reports produced as a result of these treatments are online at https://www.cbd.int/conferences/2018/cop-14/documents. As we close this paper, some points are still under discussion in plenary, but as was often the case at this conference, consensus will always be found and final resolutions adopted.
There is no perfect work
COP 14 held the promise of flowers. However, some gray areas need to be identified to help improve the future.
– Too much secret
Maybe it was for security reasons mentioned above? The truth is that no one knows in which room the Sharm El Sheikh congress will be held until the day of the congress itself, and the program communicated in advance is simply indicative.
– No money for the poor
It is difficult to speak on behalf of the whole world, however we can recognize that the non-governmental organizations sitting as observers or not, invited to the COP 14 participated on their own funds, regardless of their age or their geographical belonging. We take this opportunity to remind the international opinion that, sometimes among the most active in the protection and conservation of biodiversity, most young non-governmental organizations or serving in developing countries have relatively low resources. Yet, concretely, their action in the field of conservation sometimes goes beyond the effort of the states themselves. This is the place here for us to appeal for financial support of these organizations for their upcoming participation in the Conference of the Parties. NGOs of African descent have done their best to participate in COP 14 in Egypt, and very often with only one member to represent them. Will they be able to attend the COP15 in China?
And as COP 14 comes to an end, we sincerely believe that the Egyptian flag can float even more proudly in the sky than before, until we all meet again in China for COP 15 in 2020.
This paper is written from Sharm El Sheikh by Dr. GHOGUE Jean-Paul, Green Connection Coordinator. November 27, 2018.
Between Green Connexion and IUCN there is a long love story. Already in 2008, it was under the guidance of IUCN that, as an independent consultant, Green Connection’s future founder, Dr GHOGUE Jean-Paul, conducted the assessment of the conservation status of freshwater plants of Central Africa. This work, which was evaluated and published in the 2009 IUCN Red List, was directly commissioned and controlled by the IUCN’s Freshwater Biodiversity Unit (https://www.iucnredlist.org/ ). At the end of this work, the author publishes a paper that summarizes in a way all that is currently known about freshwater plants in the sub-region (Ghogue, 2011).
Green Connexion was born in 2011 when its founder was already a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC); and the same founder, Dr. GHOGUE, is now a founding member of the Freshwater Plants Experts Group and responsible for Africa of the Podostemaceae Subgroup, both of IUCN.
Green Connexion as an organization officially became a member of IUCN on November 21st, 2018 and is committed to supporting the IUCN Mission, which is to influence, encourage and assist companies around the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.
In fact, Green Connexion and IUCN share the same vision of awareness and, above all, action in the service of biodiversity. As such, the two organizations have so far conducted many joint actions (roundtables, interviews, educational meetings, exhibitions and even implementation of joint projects).
It is with this background and kinship that the two organizations, Green Connexion and IUCN, arrive in Sharm El Sheikh for COP 14 in November 2018, where Green Connexion participated in most of the daily meetings of adjustment and orientation, organized by the IUCN Focal Point for the IUCN’s delegates and members.
Ghogue J.-P. (2011). The status and distribution of freshwater plants in Central Africa. In Brooks E.G.E., Allen D.J. and Darwall W.R.T. The status and distribution of freshwater biodiversity in Central Africa. Redlist. 92 – 109.
Posted by Dr. GHOGUE Jean-Paul, Coordinator of Green Connexion, Sharm El Sheikh, November 25, 2018.
By participating in COP 14 on biodiversity this year, Green Connexion is fulfilling a child’s dream of any environmental organization. Nonetheless, the terms of the CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity) are the very foundation of the creation of Green Connexion. Therefore, between the CBD and Green Connection exists an existential link. Already in its global strategy for the conservation of biodiversity in 2012, just one year after its official launch, Green Connexion already recognized that the CBD was the best model on which any organization recognizing itself in the protection of biodiversity and environment should base its strategy.
It was written: “Green Connexion is an environmental group. For the conservation of biodiversity, its strategy is essentially modeled on that of the CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity), and is based on the National Strategy and Action Plan for Biodiversity (NBSAP) in Cameroon. For the protection of the environment, Green Connnexion respects the Cameroonian law N ° 96/12 of 05 August 1996, framework law on environmental management, Title III, Chapter V on the management of natural resources and the conservation of biological diversity Article 62 “. That was six years ago, and even today, the experience of the job gives reason to the founders who had taken this option originally and launched the organization in the best way.
The same is true for education and capacity development, which are of great concern to Green Connexion. If we stick to a limited framework, we can note that object IV of the Global Strategy for the Conservation of Plants (SGCP) recommends the promotion of Education and awareness about plant diversity, its role in sustainable livelihood and its importance to all life on earth. In Target 14 of this Objective, the SGCP recommends incorporating the importance of plant diversity and the need for its conservation into communication, education and public awareness programs.
Green Connexion is actively seeking funding to support academic internships for students in the areas of biodiversity conservation and environmental protection; to organize educational discussions and seminars; to publish and educational posters and brochures; and to organize radio and television programs on conservation. Thus, Green Connexion will put its knowledge of nature at the service of environmental education of young people; its aim is to create or improve the emotional response of the child to the natural element.
Likewise, in its Objective V, the SGCP recommends capacity building and public enthusiasm to implement the Strategy; and in Target 15, it recommends a sufficient number of trained people working with the appropriate means, in relation to the national needs to achieve the Targets of the Strategy. Green Connexion is fully committed to this goal. His plan is to generally seek solutions for the
implementation of the GSTP in Cameroon and in tropical Africa, but concretely, to seek funding for more social and environmental projects, in which it will be possible to train more people in the conservation of biodiversity and the protection of the environment. For example, for people to be trained in ecotourism, renewable energy techniques, forestry, crafts, food preservation, etc.
Sharm El Sheikh, November 23rd, 2018. (Dr. JP. GHOGUE)
Although Green Connexion and Coeur d’Afrique of his Excellency Roger Milla are the only Cameroonian Non-Governmental Organizations to have been officially invited to COP 14, the fact remains that Cameroon is member of the CBD. As such, the country is represented in Egypt by an official delegation, but also by other Cameroonians from different backgrounds and origins. In the corridors of COP 14 and in the role of observer assigned to it, Green Connexion met some of these Cameroonians of the CBD, and that he presents you below:
A view of the sign of the conference in Sharm El Sheikh. @greenconnexion. November 17th, 2018.
Green Connexion was honored this year by being invited to participate in COP 14 (Fourteenth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)), held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. 17 – 29 November 2018. The theme of COP 14 is “Investing in Biodiversity for People and the Planet”. By putting people in the center and even in front of the planet, this theme draws attention to the primordial role of the human being in the preservation of his unique space, the planet earth. The earth is indeed our host and our nanny. Although it may have several characteristics (agriculture and small-scale hunting, collection and marketing of products derived from biodiversity, definition of exploitation policies, etc.), investing in biodiversity always has an economic and conservation character. So we do it for ourselves and for the planet that hosts us.
Green Connection sits as Observer. If it cannot participate in the decisions (to take part in the votes), it can attend the meetings, participate in debates and, in this chapter, its long experience in the field biodiversity conservation counts. By inviting Green Connexion and many other Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) around the world, the United Nations is leveraging all its credibility resources to add value to the global event that is COP 14.
Apart from the objective of developing and maintaining the Convention on Biological Diversity, the approximately 2500 participants at COP 14 come from all over the world. They are represented by the parties (196 to date), observers, NGOs, researchers, industrialists etc. Through the clothing port at the opening, one can witness the impressive diversity that constitutes the world culture in its totality. Another great diversity is expressed through the multitude of parallel events organized and the great variability of individual interests or distinct groups.
Green Connexion is a relatively young organization. It’s created in the years 2011 only. However, to date, it has made its way in the field of conservation. It has already to its credit most of what is known about the conservation of freshwater aquatic plants in Central Africa. As such, it has demonstrated this year the 25th anniversary of the Convention on Biological Diversity with the splendor justified by this enthusiasm that is generally found among the youngest. And the organization is coming to Sharm El Sheikh with a lot of confidence.
By J.-P. Ghogue, Green Connexion, from Sharm El Sheikh, novembre 19, 2018.
Green Connexion, it’s like a child: Very enthusiastic … Nevertheless, on the road, it knows it can count on the adults, the elders.
25 years old this year. Already ? – Would ask some. 25 years, it’s far. It’s like the distance from here to Rio de Janeiro, and Green Connexion was not born yet. Grown up with its history, no need to go across the wall of time.
Since 2013, Green Connexion has remained well connected with the celebration of the International day of Biological Diversity, sometime alone, but more often with the company of the elders (Ministry of Environment, IUCN, Nachtigal Hydropower Company, WWF, CIFOR and I am forgetting).
2013, when Green Connexion, almost juvenile, was then learning the basics of the art of conservation, was playing drums on the streets of Yaoundé to be heard, jostled habits in the Cameroon hydropower dams, very enthusiastic in fact. It was five years ago. Still!
The relationship between Green Connexion and the International day for Biological Diversity, whose theme in this year 2018 was “Celebrating 25 Years of Action for Biodiversity” was first emotional, then nostalgic. This theme was enriched by the human greatness, by its universal aspirations, its hopes, its expectations and its enthusiasms, but also by its pettiness, its gravities, its flippancies as well as its laxness. Green Connexion was surely not alone to be totally identified in this theme.
On the 22 may 2018, more than a fifty of the Green Connexion members have been mobilized to go celebrate in the elder’s house, to meet with them, share their experience on biodiversity and discuss about the future of the world. The CIFOR (Center for International Forestry Research) and WWF (World Wildlife Fund) did them the honour. And the party was beautiful and friendly.
On the 23 and 24 May 2018, during the delayed celebration of the International Biodiversity Day organized by the Cameroonian Ministry of Environment and Nature Conservation, Green Connexion had the honour to share publicly the stand with IUCN. In fact, IUCN had chosen Green Connexion as the organization member, model of the close collaboration that it entertains with its members.
Finally, Green Connexion and the International day for Biological Diversity 2018: Like a ripe fruit? That no! Rather like a ripening fruit.
By Jean-Paul Ghogue
Director – Green Connexion.
@Green Connexion 2018.