The skill sourcing and knowledge honing exercise which happened September 9 and 10, assembled some 45 lawyers who were carefully selected through rigorous screening exercise from Centre, East, South and North West Regions of Cameroon.
In twelve key presentations exhausted in two days, concepts on environmental law were dissected for in-depth understanding, core principles of environmental law expounded upon.
Following a national research carried out by FEDEV on the state of the implementation of principle ten of the Rio Declaration with focus on Access to Environmental Information, Public Participation on environmental decision making, and access to environmental justice, findings revealed an avalanche of challenges in the country meeting up with Roi’s action.
In her ceaseless pursuit to ensure environmental justice, protection and respect for human rights, FEDEV initiated a national project which caught the interest of Environmental Lawyers Alliance Worldwide and other national stakeholders in Cameroon to embark squarely to build capacities of professionals in the Environmental litigation process.
On this premise therefore, the workshop sought to fine-tune skills of environmental lawyers already involved in environmental litigations and to prepare aspirants to make an entry move into safeguarding the environment for today and future generations.
After training some 100 magistrates in 2020, the quest for environmental justice by FEDEV could not be complete without training lawyers, initiators of litigations in courts. “As unique as they are, lawyers are in a position to activate the jurisdictions of the court in respect to citizens who are aggrieved victims of environmental harm”, Executive Director of FEDEV, Nchunu Justice Sama justifies the training of lawyers this time.
Underscoring the need for Environmental protection, the representative of Environmental Lawyers Alliance Worldwide, ELAW, Snr Bar Olivia Tamon warned that “…if the environment is not secured, the right to life, health, education, social justice and many others will not be achieved”,
To the Representative of the Cameroon Bar Association President for North West, Barrister Mbah Eric Mbah, it is time for lawyers in the country to carve out niches and Environmental Law is one of those sectors seek out for. “Gone are the days when basically lawyers were divided into civil law or criminal law, there are many domains of legal practice now that no practitioners can mater all. Now that we are beginning to move into specialisation, more of us will get into environmental protection”.
Among other working materials and instruments, participants were graced with free copies of “The Compendium of the Environment Laws” in Cameroon donated by the Minister of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development as a key instrument to enforce environmental actions.
At the climax of their two-day sojourn, the legal minds adopted the putting in place of a “National Network for Environmental Lawyers” for skills strengthening and continued networking. The next event rendezvous is taken for Buea from November 18 to 19, 2021 which will bring together lawyers from the South West, West, Littoral and the Northern regions of Cameroon.