Experts from Nigeria and Cameroon have endorsed the preparation of a joint nomination to UNESCO for the creation of a new trans-boundary biosphere reserve, between Nigeria and Cameroon, to be called the Cross River-Korup-Takamanda Biosphere Reserve.
The nomination is expected to be finalized and forwarded to UNESCO in 2016 as a joint application from Nigeria and Cameroon.
To date, trans-boundary activities between Nigeria and Cameroon have focused mainly on joint patrols, sharing of information and exchange visits.
However during a recent workshop participants unanimously viewed a biosphere reserve as different from a national park since it promotes solutions reconciling the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use.
More than 40 international participants from six different countries met in Calabar to review and strengthen trans-boundary collaboration between Cross River National Park in Nigeria and Takamanda National Park and Korup National Park in Cameroon.
The meeting was the seventh trans-boundary workshop held between Nigeria and Cameroon since 2008 and had representatives from the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nigerian National Park Service, UNESCO, members of the Nigerian Man and the Biosphere Committee, Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria, National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Ministry of Forests and Wildlife (Cameroon), Arcus Foundation, the IUCN-WCPA Transboundary Conservation Specialist Group, and the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Trans-boundary conservation refers to the cooperative management of an area, by two or more countries, that straddles international boundaries for conservation purposes and may include adjacent national parks and other protected areas.
According to a statement issued at the end of the meeting, trans-boundary conservation offers a number of benefits as well as challenges, including: “Connecting two or more areas increases the size of habitat available for protection, generally a single large area is considered more effective at preserving biodiversity than numerous smaller areas.
Joint management activity can also enable the pooling of limited resources to minimize replication and maximize productivity.
“Moreover trans-boundary cooperation can enable broader political collaboration between countries by using environmental management as a tool to foster good relations and reinforce confidence.
Yet it requires significant political will and commitment from governments, as well as the support of surrounding communities,” it said.