Local governance in disaster risk reduction in Cameroon

16 August 2013

At the 2005 World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Hyogo, Japan, 168 countries including Cameroon adopted the Hyogo Framework for Action, committing to take action to reduce human and socio-economic disaster losses. Geotechnology, Environmental Assessment and Disaster Risk Reduction was commissioned by the Global Network of Civil Society Organisations for Disaster Risk Reduction as the coordinating organisation in Cameroon to evaluate progress in implementation of the framework from the civil society perspective, particularly the role of local governance in disaster risk reduction (DRR). Seven regions of the country were identified for evaluation, where people have suffered losses from disasters during the last three decades. Three approaches were used: administration of questionnaires; consultations with local communities; and four case studies. It was found that there was significant scope for improvement on individual local governance indicators, and that effective progress depends on:1. level of achievement in the decentralisation process currently under way.2. adoption of a participatory approach to DRR.3. clear distribution of roles in the DRR process.4. adequate allocation of necessary financial and human resources.5. enhancement of capacity of local communities to prepare for and respond to all types of disasters.Creation of an independent body to carry out fundamental research, forecast new and emerging hazards and manage all disasters in the country will contribute greatly to moving things forward.