Whereas Government funds provide for payment of salaries and a limited functional budget, most of the activities of Mount Cameroon National Park are currently financed by Official Development Assistance through KFW (ODA). However, it is important to develop innovative long-term financial mechanism which could reduce and at medium term replace the ODA funding and lobby at the same time for more government funding. The objective of the creation of a “Mount Cameroon Fund (MCF)” is to secure and manage other long term sources of funding in order to finance both park management activities and the integrated management of its peripheral zone. This option has been retained in the management plan with a fully dedicated program.
Mt Cameroon as an icon (highest mountain in West Africa, active volcano, exceptional biodiversity and landscapes) has the potential to attract private funds. Private economic operators contacted in the Mt Cameroon area - some of them linked directly to the eco-system services provided by the mountain eg water bottling companies - showed an interest on the initiative to associate their image with the Mount Cameroon National Park and to finance mainly the collaborative management approach of the park. The fund shall be provided also with eco-tourism concession fees from lodge and tour operators or other tourist activities. Further income could be generated through Payment for Environmental Services (PES) or Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation ( REDD+ ) initiatives. Once functioning mainly with private funds the MCF may attract also an endowment fund (or trust fund) from an international donor. An endowment fund invests the start capital on international finance markets and the yearly created interests can be used to finance park operational costs (see park fund).
MCF should administer two main funds:
- Park fund: The park fund to support the operational costs of park management (protection, co-management, monitoring).
- Grant fund: The grant fund shall contribute shall contribute to the sustainable management of the peripheral zone (improved land management, sustainable agriculture, afforestation, participatory forest management, watershed management and creation of socio-economic infrastructure). The direct beneficiaries of the grant fund are the communities living aound the park.
Mount Cameroon Foundation Concept
Hosting of the fund shall be organized through an existing or a new foundation which has as status of non-profit public charity (public utility), with a tax exemption. MCF shall be a managed with a very light structure, in principle one executive Director working in close collaboration with the conservator of Mt Cameroon National Park. The proposed board composition for the fund/foundation consists of one representative of the Ministry of Wildlife and Forestry, one from an international conservation NGO active in the MCNP; three representatives of the (inter)national private sector, contributors to MCF and 2 independent experts: one with proved knowledge and experience in field conservation issues, one with proved knowledge and experience in finance, law, management and fundraising. Funding shall be disbursed based on annual operation plans and budgets. Operation budgets and grant proposals shall be approved by the board members against a set of eligibility and funding prioritization criteria. Grant Proposals shall consider the five yearly Conservation Development Agreements (CDAs) negotiated with surrounding communities.
After having realized the preparatory studies for the creation of the Mount Fund, PSMNR-SWR will in its phase IV (2018-2021) support the park:
- in mobilizing private economic operators for participating in the funding of the Mount Cameroon Fund,
- in creating its new structure including elaboration of manual of procedures and
- in piloting MCF operations in order build its capacity to act as an efficient and trustworthy fund manager on behalf of MCNP, federating initiatives and raising funds around the management of Mount Cameroon National Park.