30 July To 2 August 2007
United Nations Environment Programme Children's Conference On The Environment: Yaounde, Cameroon
We left Zimbabwe at 11am on Saturday 28 July 2007 and arrived in Yaounde, Cameroon at 9.30pm the same day. We were welcomed in a hospitable way. There were many people from other countries. The organisers took us to Hotel Monte Febe where we were going to stay. Upon arrival at the hotel we were given food and thereafter went to bed. The conference started on Monday the 30th of July. We went to the conference centre at around 9:45am.The opening ceremony started with the Cameroon National Anthem and after that there was a welcome address from a Government Delegate to the Yaounde City Council. This was followed by opening remarks by the Prime Minister (The Head of Government). Later we had our lunch. Presentations started after lunch. The topic for Day 1 was Climate Change & Food Security. We had action group meetings and the Topics suggested for discussion were:
Climate change, its global effects and effects for Africa, what can we do
Ozzy Ozone, Green house effect, Global warming, Ozone layer
Sustainable Agriculture, soil treatment
Renewable Energy I joined the action group which was looking at Food Security.The most important lesson I learnt was that food security is having adequate food for the country and that a country should always have enough food reserves to feed its people in times of drought and other natural disasters. As a continent of Africa we should also have enough food to share with other countries which may be in need.
After this fruitful workshop we went back to the hotel. We played some games & socialized with my fellow participants. We also had time for swimming. After dinner we went up to our rooms to relax.
Day 2 began with breakfast at 6.30am.We had a Tree Planting Ceremony along Mont Febe road. This was a very interesting experience to me because l managed to make my contribution to the BILLION TREE PLANTING CAMPAIGN. We had a guided study tour to Mbalmayo Forestry School where we were shown different types of trees. We were also shown shown big beds of seedling. These included the ebony tree. The ebony tree is a hardwood which is commonly found in Cameroon
After lunch we had Children's Presentations on Forests and Biodiversity. I managed to get a lot of useful insights from these presentations. We discussed topics that had been suggested thus:
Overview of Forests in Cameroon
Afforestation activities After the workshops we departed for the hotel .On arrival at the hotel we had our action group meetings while the chaperones were having their meeting. After the meetings we had dinner and later on that night we had a cultural evening where children from Different cultures performed their talents. There after we went to bed.
Day 3 began with breakfast as usual. After breakfast we departed for the conference centre .The main topic for Day 3 was Water, Sanitation and Waste Management. We had a speech from Mrs Dona Goodman who works with UNICEF. After the speech we had some presentations on Water and Sanitation Waste Management. Later on we had some workshops. The suggested topics were:
Waste Water treatment: purification
Water supply in urban and rural areas
Hygiene and sanitation, prevention skills We also had free time to visit other children's exhibitions.
After lunch the workshops continued but with newly suggested topics which were:
Waste management: recycle, reuse, reduce, and Repair.
Waste management: techniques-Environmental NGO-Cameroon We were also given time for shopping before dinner on this day. We then went for dinner and after that we had Action Group Meetings again where we discussed events which took place during the day.
Day 4 began with breakfast at 6.30am. At the Conference venue the day began with a keynote speech then about 4 children gave their presentations. I was honored to do a presentation on Drylands and Deserts and to me this was the most exciting part of the conference.
The main topic of the day was Drylands and Deserts. We had workshops on the day's topic. The dayâ€™s simulation was led by Mr.Wagnoun. Other topics we discussed were:
Desertification in Africa: Consequences (poverty, hunger)
Preventive skills and reversal methods
Public Awareness Strategies.
After lunch we had a briefing of the 2008 International Childrenâ€™s Conference on the Environment which will be held in Stavanger, Norway. The invited guests arrived after the briefing, then had a reading of the final communiquÃ©â€™. After that there was a presentation of certificates to participants. I also received my certificate of participation.
At 1630 we had the closing remarks. The Childrenâ€™s Representative gave a vote of thanks. A representative from Miss Angele SY-Luh and the Minister of Environment and Nature Protection said their final words to all the delegates who were present. At 1700 we had a closing cocktail, song and drama performance. Then we left for the Airport.
I will end my presentation by stating that the conference fruitful and well organized. The program was simple and easy to follow. It involved very interesting activities. I personally enjoyed the study tours and field trips. We learnt a lot about the environment and how we can conserve and maintain it. I will definitely use the knowledge I gained in my country, home, and the community I live in and also at schools. I have already started planting some trees. Since there is limited space to plant trees at my home my project will mainly involve growing seedlings for distributions to members of the community. There is a shortage of electricity in my country at the moment and trees are now very important to a lot of people because they use trees as firewood for cooking and light. This is why I want to encourage Afforestation projects in my country. Since our country has been facing droughts recently I now know that through tree planting we can reduce desertification and dry lands. I also want to join organization involved in environmental management in my country so that I can learn more and share ideas about the environment with them.
In my country today environmental issues are very important. Tree and grass are being destroyed as a result of uncontrolled veld fires and cutting down of trees. For example, when we were travelling back to my home town with parents after the conference a huge veld fire, which had been started by some hunters, went on to completely burn a big truck which had broken down on the side of the main road. We just watched helplessly. Our journey was delayed by two hours because of the big fire and dark smoke coming from the burning truck. This uncontrolled burning is also causing land degradation, killing animals, birds, and insects and destroying their habitat. Land degradation is also being caused by uncontrolled panning for minerals such as gold, diamonds, chrome etc.
I am very grateful to the conference organisers for affording me the opportunity to attend this very important Conference, I experienced something which l feel very privileged to have done and that was being able to mix with so many children who come from different places which l had only heard about, let alone share first hand experiences. There are very few people who can say they have done that and l hope that you will be able to help so many others to come to this conference because l learnt such a lot. I think that if every young person had the opportunity to express their views and think like we were all thinking, the world would be a far better place. Long live idealists! So l wish you luck for the future.
Lastly it is my sincere hope that I will be given a chance to attend the Conference to be held in Norway next year, it obvious that were there is such a large gathering there is wealth of diverse experiences, I hope to tap into that diversity to see what l can be able to implement.
REPORT COMPILED BY SHINGAI DUMBA