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Updated to: 16 February 2015

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Distinguishing features of the EIA/SEA system

In general, the principle of taking into account the environment in public policy is enshrined in the constitution of Cameroon of 1996 marking the country's commitment at the highest level to sustainable development. Indeed, the constitution proclaims in its preamble, the right of all citizens to a healthy environment. As per this constitution, the protection of the environment is a duty of all and the State should ensure its defense and promotion. Taking into account the environment in development activities results in a relatively complex legal and institutional framework. Namely : (1) adherence to international conventions (2) the enactment of the framework Law No. 96/12 of 1996 on environmental management (3) the enactment of a number of sectoral laws requiring to take into account the environment (4) the signature of several normative texts including the decree laying down the procedures for implementation of the environmental and social impact of February 2013.

Administrative system: relevant features

Cameroon is divided into ten provinces: Center, South, Littoral, West, Southwest, Northwest, Adamawa, North, Far North and East. Each province is divided into Divisions headed by Divisional officers. Each Division is divided into sub-divisions headed by sub-divisional officers. Each subdivision is divided into districts under the authority of a district chief.

At the institutional level, Cameroon seems to have opted for a multisectoral, decentralized and participatory approach for managing the environment. This is done under the coordination of the Ministry in charge of environment, currently the Ministry ofEnvironment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED), assisted by an interdepartmental committee of the environment which. Among other tasks, this committee ensures the respect for and consideration of environmental considerations inclusion in the design and implementation of plans and economic, energy and land programs. In the same way, sectoral ministries and structures whose activities have strong environmental implications must establish environmental units to ensure the internalisation of environmental aspects. There are three types of institutions or structures, namely (i) the coordination institutions such as the National Consultative Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development (CNCEDD); the Interministerial Committee for the Environment; and the Regional Committees of the Environment, (ii) implementation institutions such as: the sectoral ministries, parastatal institutions, regional and local authorities, the private sector, civil society and the programs or projects, whose activities contribute to achieve the objectives of environmental management and (iii) support institutions among which are the National Fund for the Environment and Sustainable Development (FONEDD), the Special Funds of sectoral ministries, the development partners, through projects and programs they support.

Relevant international conventions

In Cameroon, Sustainable Development and the consideration of environmental issues have been strengthened as a result of the Rio Summit in 1992 and adherence to various conventions from the Summit, namely: (i) the United Nations Convention on the fight against desertification, (ii) the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, and (iii) the United Nations Convention on Climate Change. Cameroon has ratified other important international and regional conventions such as the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (2005), the CITES Convention on Endangered Species (1973), the Abidjan Convention on Marine and Coastal Ecosystems and Kyoto Protocol.

Environmental Standards: relevant features

The mandatory list of standards made by the Agency Standard and Quality (ANOR) provides guidance on codes of practice, hygiene and manufacturing of certain products. They are mostly procedural though and do not set a limiting value or define permissible amounts with respect to the protection of the environment. The document of MINEPDED "environmental standards and inspection procedures for industrial and commercial facilities in Cameroon" provides such values and permissible quantities but has no legal value formally defined.

In the absence of national standards that are legally in force, the texts allow the use of international standards, although this situation creates some confusion.

Country specific terms or acronyms

MINEPDED = Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Sustainable Development;

ESIA = Environmental and Social Impact Assessment

ICE = Interdepartmental Committee on Environment