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Dear Mangrovists,
I am very delighted to be in touch with you on this special day and week “The Mangrove week” joining others around the world in the cerebration of the International Day of the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem (the 8th World Mangrove Day July, 26 2023). Celebrated every 26th July, The World Mangrove Day was instituted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), unlike other international days, there is no annual theme for this observance. The aims of The World Mangrove Day are to raise awareness of the importance of mangrove ecosystems as a unique, special and vulnerable ecosystem; and to promote solutions for their sustainable management, conservation and uses. Fellow Mangrovists, We all know mangrove is an important belt of ecosystem separating the land from the sea in areas where sea water washes the land surface daily. Mangrove therefore affect significantly the coastal terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecosystems and is useful to many different users and actors. To a fisherman, as nursery or maternity sites for marine and coastal fishes; to a coastal farmer, as a wind or storm breaks sheltering farms; to an engineer or an urban builder, source of materials including sand for construction of houses, road and other urban infractures; to an urban dweller, mangroves are dump wastes sites, acting as waste abatement, as natural sponges against flooding water; to urban food transformator (bolangerie, meat/fish rosters, cooking..) as a source of prefered wood; to a spirutualist as cultural sites; to a teacher and a learner as excursion sites to learn ecosystem processes; and to everyone as as important sites to fight against climate change sequesting considerable carbons in its soils & biomass and hevens of biodiversity.
Unfortunately, our above different activities, invasive species and policies interacting with mangrove ecosystems have considerably contributed to its degradation reducing the initial cover for instant from 1980 and 2006 in Central Africa to more than 23% currently to more than 1.4% annually more than the size of a football field. This has trigered the processes for the restoration of mangrove systems from many intitatives and projects from many actors be it the communities, Government, Non governmental and private sectors at local, national and global scales.
Cameroon Mangrove Network (CMN) of group of over 40 coastal local community and Non- gouvernmental organisations on its part since its creation in Edea in May, 2005, has been carring out its own actions including those of Cameroon Coastal Network (CAMNET),Cameroon Fisheries Society (CFS) and their aglomerations.
Currently, many donors organisations have funded the network intiatives especially Planete
d’Urgences supporting carbon sequestion projects; Oceans 5 with fight against Illicit, Unregualed and Unreported (IUU) fishing and promoting better protection of marine area (MPAs) through management plans directives and Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs) outside protected areas to include conservation consciousness of activites of all actors. CMN and CAMNET have been driving with other NGOs on IUU especially Illegal Industrial Fishing and fisheries and trawling reforms to support better management of MPAs. Virtual communication tools and meetings including physical discussions have been used to promote mangrove conservation and policy orientations. These will continue in the future.
Protection mangrove means protecting the land and the sea for our wellbeing. Let’s do something to prepetrate this fragile but important ecosystem. Wherever, this message meets you whether in the heart of mangroves, doing something for mangroves, talking about the mangroves or associated in whatever form with the mangrove environment, we wish you a happy Mangrove Day and Week.