The state of Cameroon has an effective foreign policy that revolves around cooperation with other states. It also exercises zero alignments and focuses largely on national independence through the mobilization of the involved parties. Cameroon achieves this through influencing the involved parties, urging them to participate, and ensuring their presence in the diplomacy process. Cameroon is a member of the Islamic Conference, the Francophone, and the Commonwealth.
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The country is revolutionary and has been able to take part in diplomatic relations which have seen its various appointments as the preferred host for several summits such as the Africa-France Summit and the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). It has unwavering support for both developing and developed states of the world through its foreign policies which are noninterference (Cameroon Embassy, 2010). This paper highlights Cameroon’s foreign policy and precisely looks at the multilateral international pollution control policy as well as the policy that governs the supply of oil to the world.
Cameroon’s policy on multilateral international pollution control, specifically in the area of sea pollution and radioactive materials
International laws govern countries such as Cameroon against environmental pollution which has the potential of harming them and others. However, states have a right to exploit their resources but with one condition, they must not present danger to others as they do so. If the pollution spilled over to other states, an environmental activist then has a right to protest the prohibition of such activities. Cameroon has signed treaties with other states which govern the policies on multilateral international pollution control. This touches on sea pollution and the use of radioactive materials (Jeffrey, 1998).
Cameroon’s international policy on sea pollution sees to it that no manner of waste is dumped into the sea and other water masses. It also ensures that no hazardous materials find their way into the sea and that sea transport is free from oil spillages which may be occasioned by the use of vessels such as boats and ships. This not only reduces the event of sea pollution but also controls the potential pollutants to ensure that people in all states linked with the sea have access to unpolluted seawater. It also protects marine life from possible deaths (UKELA, 2008).
Cameroon as a member of the United Nations is obliged to subscribe to her set policy on the transportation and disposal of radioactive waste. The United Nations came up with a manual that details the procedure in the handling of such materials. These laid down regulations are amended every two years to ensure that they are up to date with the changing technologies in the world. This policy prohibits the disposal of radioactive materials in the sea and governs the safe usage by agencies. A large majority of Cameroonians depend on fish for both subsistence and commercial use. The Logone River for example has a high population who depend on fish for their daily food. Some of the fish is sold in the local markets through scarcity explains why it does not feature among the exports (Ziring et al, 2005).
Cameroon’s policy on ensuring the continued supply of oil to the world
Cameroon’s oil sector has grown over the years and the policy seeks to make the market more transparent to ensure that the supply continues to other states in the diaspora. The policy on oil in Cameroon seeks to enhance accountability which will see to the growth of the country’s economy to eradicate poverty. However, even with the production of oil and assuming that the laid down strategies are being followed, Cameroon has failed to improve its economy over the years. In the same breath, oil production in Cameroon has significantly declined to make her supplies to other states go down (Cosse, 2006).
As depletion of the oil reserves in Cameroon continues, there has been a great urge to get alternative sources for energy. The short-term alternatives that exist in Cameroon include limiting imports since the country produces modest amounts. The current high costs of oil cannot allow it to import more to cater for the discrepancy occasioned. Subsidies have been introduced though these are not very reliable because they bring about major financial drawbacks. Hydroelectric generators have also been installed as an alternative in cutting down on the escalating oil prices.
Biofuels are also gaining ground as an alternative to oil and these reduce oil over-reliance. On the other hand, the use of solar energy has been embraced by many and this does not only cut down on the oil dependency but also provides a safer environment. Biodiesel, obtained from vegetable oils is also being used to run diesel engines. The use of natural gas has also come in as a handy alternative to oil and miners have been trained on how to trap it as they drill oil. This gas is used in industries and also at home and technicians are sourcing ways of using it in generating electricity (Renatus, 2006).
A sudden shortage in the supply of oil would be detrimental to the economy of Cameroon as it would lead to an energy crisis. A shortage, according to Pareto (2008) would imply that Cameroon would have to import oil to cater for the deficit it would face. Oil is used by many industries in Cameroon to run machinery. It is also used to power vehicles and many homes use it for cooking, lighting, and heating. A shortage would lead to an escalation in its prices and the people would have to dig deeper into their pockets to access this essential commodity.
Power outages would also become a common phenomenon because oil is used in the production of electricity. Lack of power to run industries means that production will go down and the massive losses will be reflected in the country’s economy. This would also lead to rationing as a way to manage the crisis but the trouble would be far from over since many companies will be forced to retrench their workers to cope with the crisis. This will lead to increased poverty levels plunging the country into deeper a financial crisis. OPEC (Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) was birthed in Baghdad in 1960. It is made up of 12 countries that export petroleum products and Cameroon is not among them. These countries include Iran, Algeria, Angola, Nigeria, Qatar, Venezuela, Kuwait, Ecuador, Iraq, United Arabs Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Libya (Pareto 2008).
Cameroon’s mentioned foreign policies have been put in place to govern international relations between it and other states. Cameroon’s policy on pollution control has been widely accepted across the globe as well as her policy on the supply of oil. However, these have not been without their limitations as well as criticism from bodies like the IMF. The International Monetary Fund feels that the lack of transparency in her government on issues regarding oil has led to abject poverty.
Cameroon Embassy. (2010). Cameroon foreign policy. Amaliastraat. Vol. 14, 2514 JC.
Cosse, S. (2006). Strengthening transparency in the oil sector in Cameroon: Why does it matter? International monetary Fund. Vol. 2 (06).
Jeffrey, B. (1998). Responsible action or public relations? NGO perspectives on Voluntary initiatives. Industry and environment. UNEP.
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Pareto, V. (2008). The urban component of the energy crisis. Energy Bulletin. Post carbon institute. Vol. 1 (03).
Renatus, N. (2006). What alternatives to oil in Africa? Importers begin looking more Closely at other energy sources. Africa Renewal, Vol. 20(3), pp 17.
UKELA. (2008). Prevention and control of water pollution. United Kingdom Environmental Law Association.
Ziring, L., Riggs, R., and Plano, J. (2005). The United Nations – International Organisation and World Politics. 4th Ed. NY: Belmont Publishers.