CHEDE, which means “abundant harvest” in the Muambong village community in South West Cameroon where the project was started in 1986, joins with the international community in 2010 to celebrate the International Year of Biodiversity.
The rich biodiversity of the Chede project’s origin and geographical focus in Cameroon was aptly summed up by Richard Black, a BBC environment correspondent, in his 2005 article entitled “Cameroon yields plant spectacular”. A good part of the area described in the article was converted into “The Bakossi National Park” in 2007 by the Cameroon Government.
CHEDE is directly concerned in its village-oriented development objectives and activities by three “fact sheets” of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). These are: Agricultural Biodiversity; Biodiversity for Development and Poverty Alleviation; and Climate Change and Biodiversity.
- Agricultural BiodiversityBiodiversity is the foundation of agriculture. Agricultural biodiversity includes ecosystems, animals, plants and micro-organisms related to food and agriculture. Today most species of crops and domesticated livestock are the result of thousands of years of human intervention such as selective breeding and other farm practices.
Agricultural biodiversity provides food and raw materials to produce goods. Moreover, every plant, animal and micro-organism plays its part in the regulation of essential ecosystem services, such as water conservation, decomposition of waste and nutrient cycling, pollination, pest and disease control, climate regulation, erosion control and flood prevention, carbon sequestration and many more.
- Biodiversity for Development and Poverty AlleviationThe majority of the world’s poor live in rural areas and depend on forests, waters, wetlands, fields and pastures for their livelihood. Many of these ecosystems and related biodiversity are under threat and poorly managed.
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment concludes that 60% of the world’s ecosystems are degraded or unsustainably used. This directly impacts the livelihoods of the poor who depend on these resources for subsistence, security and income. Culprits include growing demands for natural resources, low public investment, poorly defined property rights, and global commodity trade policies that provide incentives for over-exploiting resources. Strengthening the rights of poor people over land, resources and ecosystem services is one of the first steps toward sustainable development.
- Climate ChangeLevels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are rapidly increasing, warming the Earth’s surface and lower atmosphere. Higher temperatures lead to climate change that includes effects such as rising sea levels, changes in precipitation patterns that can produce floods and droughts, and the spread of vector-borne diseases such as malaria. Some areas may benefit from changes in the climate. Others, including those in least developed countries and small island developing states, may suffer greatly.
There is ample scientific evidence that climate change affects biodiversity. Climate change, according to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, is likely to become the dominant direct driver of biodiversity loss by the end of the century. It is already forcing biodiversity to adapt either through changing habitat, life cycles, or development of new physical traits. This, in turn, will affect vital ecosystem services for all humans, such as air and water purification, pollination and production of food, decomposition and nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration, etc.
The Chede International Development Network would be delighted to partner with other CBD stakeholders in making the International Year of Biodiversity a development experience that improves the livelihoods of village farming communities for whom biodiversity is their natural habitat.