Ranked as 146 out of 182 countries on the 2020 ND-GAIN Index [1], Cameroon is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change, due to its exposure, its sensitivity, and its low adaptive capacity [2]. Already, Cameroon has experienced a temperature increase of 0.86°C between 1974 and 2020, with more significant warming experienced in the north of Cameroon between 1991 and 2020. In parallel, the average annual precipitation over Cameroon has declined by 2.9 mm per decade since 1960, with a particularly low average rainfall in 2015. Cameroon’s coast has experienced the most precipitation, while the northern part of the country has been the driest between 1991 and 2020 [3].

Cameroon’s climate is expected to continue to change, affecting the country’s climatic zones differently. Under the worst-case climate scenario, temperatures are predicted to surge on average by 3.9°C over the next 20 years with wide variations depending on area. Rainfall is expected to increase on average from 5.8 mm over the next 20 years to 10.4 mm by 2100, although precipitation will vary throughout the country. At the same time, extreme weather events will become more frequent and intense [3], with negative impacts on health and human life [2]. The country’s Sahelian North is predicted to suffer from increased drought, erosion, violent winds, and floods. Flood risk is expected to increase throughout the country, excluding the savannah zone [3], with projections showing at least 5 to 10 floods per year depending on the intensity of rain [2]. In the highlands of the West, erosion, landslides, and drought are projected to become more common. Meanwhile, coastal areas, especially the city of Douala, will likely be vulnerable to floods, sea level rise, erosion, landslides, and violent winds [3]. According to the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), the population exposed annually to climatic hazards has increased to approximately 3 million in 2021, from 320,000 in 2015 [2].

Climate change is an imminent threat to Cameroon’s development due the country’s dependence on natural resources and Cameroonians’ dependence on agriculture for livelihoods and subsistence. For instance, tropical forests, covering almost 40% of the country, provide an estimated 8 million rural people with traditional staples including food, medicines, fuel, and construction material. But changes in temperature, rain, and droughts will likely impact the country’s forest ecosystems [4], putting the rural population at greater risk of increased poverty [3]. Additionally, energy production in Cameroon is entirely dependent on the hydrological system and, considering the influence of the availability of energy resources on the other development sectors, the vulnerability of the main rivers' regimes to climate change will have a major impact on the development of the country as a whole [5]. Under current climate conditions, about two million people (9% of Cameroon’s population) live in drought-affected areas, and about 8% of the country’s GDP is vulnerable [3].  

In Cameroon, agriculture is and remains the predominant sector of the national economy, both in terms of its contribution to GDP and the knock-on effects it has on other sectors of activity [2]. The agricultural sector, due to its high sensitivity to the availability of water, erosion, and flooding, is expected to be the most affected sector by climate change in Cameroon [5], impacting food security. Already, the prevalence of food insecurity is high [4] and increasing in Cameroon, mainly attributable to the security crises affecting certain regions in the country, particularly the North-West, South-West and the Far North [6], as well climate stressors [4]. As of 2021, approximately 22.9% of the population is facing food insecurity, compared to the 10% in 2018 [6], and about 16% of the population in the Far North are in a food crisis [3].

Populations living in certain regions are more vulnerable to climate hazards, especially in the Far North where debilitating droughts have contributed to alarming rates of food insecurity and loss of livelihoods. The Mayo-Tsanaga, Mayo-Sava, Logone, and Chari were the most affected departments (départements) during the last quarter of 2021. Livestock is an important asset and contributor to household food and nutrition security. However, on average, about 1.2 million head of livestock are affected by more than three months of drought every year. By 2050, if drastic climate change adaptation measures are not undertaken, more than 2.6 million units of livestock (71% of the current total) are expected to be under drought-induced stress conditions annually. Additionally, more than 100,000 tons of crops, including 20,000 tons of maize, are also affected by weather shocks annually. In recent years, floods have also become more frequent and more intense in the Far North, negatively affecting livelihoods, and increasing food insecurity. In 2019 and 2020, torrential rains flooded most departments in the Far North, affecting more than 20,000 hectares of farmland. Further, the risks of food insecurity are likely to exacerbate internal migration, worsen already high chronic malnutrition, and threaten to increase stunting rates among children under five years old, affecting their long-term cognitive and physical development [3].

Climate change in Cameroon is already placing increasing pressure on the key sectors of the country’s economy, as well as increasing social vulnerabilities [2]. The main sectors that are vulnerable to climate change include: agriculture and livestock; forestry, sylviculture and wildlife; water, sanitation and health; energy, mines and industries; fishing and aquaculture; urban development and public works; and tourism [5]. As a result, without action, the consequences of climate change are likely to undermine Cameroon's efforts to reduce poverty, develop a strong, diversified, and competitive economy, strengthen national unity and consolidate the democratic process [7].


Cameroon is one of the world’s lowest emitters of greenhouse gasses (GHG). In 2010, the agriculture sector was the largest source of GHG emissions in the country (69% of the total emissions). This was followed by the Energy (18%), the Waste (12%) and the Industrial Processes and Product Use (IPPU) (1%) sectors [2].


Key policies and governance approach

The Government of Cameroon ratified the Paris Agreement in 2016 and submitted its updated NDC to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in November 2021 [3]. Through its updated NDC, Cameroon intends to reduce its GHG emissions by 35% by 2030, compared to the business-as-usual scenario, conditional on obtaining finance. This target is broken down into a 12% unconditional target (at a cost of US$ 25.7 million), and a 23% conditional target which is dependent on support from the international community in the form of funding, capacity building actions and technology transfer [2]. To achieve the overall mitigation target, the government has identified 32 mitigation actions in four key sectors (forestry, agriculture, energy, and waste). The updated NDC also reflects Cameroon’s vision for adaptation, including the goal to turn climate-related challenges into development solutions in the country’s 5 agro-ecological zone by 2035. Proposed measures include 21 adaptation actions across 8 sectors and themes, at a cost of US$ 31.85 million [3].

Cameroon has also developed several climate policy documents and integrated climate change in selected sector strategies and plans (notably the forestry, agriculture, environment, water, and health sectors). Cameroon’s key climate change policy document is the National Climate Change Adaptation Plan 2015–19 (Plan National d’Adaptation au Changement Climatique: PNACC) [3], which consists of four overarching strategic axes: (1) Improve knowledge on climate change; (2) Public information, education and mobilization in order to adapt to climate change; (3) Reduce major sectors and agro-ecological areas vulnerability to climate change; and (4) Integrate climate change adaptation into national sectoral strategies and policies [8]. The PNACC also assesses the coherence of sectoral policies and laws related to emissions reduction from deforestation and forest degradation and analyzes land and carbon rights for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+). Cameroon’s National REDD+ Strategy (2018) addresses gaps and barriers in reducing deforestation and forest degradation and seeks to enhance the country’s carbon stocks. A 10-year climate-smart investment plan has also been developed to prioritize climate response in the agriculture and the livestock sectors. Further, in the face of climate change, the National Action Plan for Integrated Water Resources promoted a systematic process for the sustainable development, allocation, and monitoring of water resources among sectors [3].

Additionally, both the country’s Vision 2035 and the National Development Strategy for 2020–2030 (Stratégie Nationale de Développement, SND 30), recognize the importance of climate change impacts in Cameroon and have included dedicated climate-related objectives [3]. For instance, one of the overall objectives in the SND 30 is to “strengthen climate change adaptation and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure environmental management that assures sustainable and inclusive economic growth and social development[9].

At the institutional level, the Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED) is responsible for the co-ordination of climate change activities and policies within the country [10]. A National Observatory on Climate Change (ONACC) has also been set up within MINEPDED [2].

Successes and remaining challenges

Cameroon has made progress in developing climate policy, but unfortunately, still lacks a comprehensive regulatory framework to support its goals. The country does not yet have a law requiring public institutions to integrate climate change into their policy and planning instruments, as well as their budget process, and most sectors lack legislation in support of the country's adaptation and decarbonization goals (e.g., the Forest Law does not emphasize climate change mitigation and adaptation). Further, local governments have no regulatory requirements to set adaptation targets, prepare plans and strategies, or report on local implementation. As a result, in the absence of an overarching, multisectoral climate change legislation, climate policies are vulnerable to changes in political priorities, which undermines sustained planning over multiple political cycles [3].

Though a climate agenda is included in the SND 30, this has not yet led to the incorporation of climate change into the country’s core planning instruments. Cameroon does not yet have a long-term climate planning framework to incorporate 2050 GHG emission reduction targets into policies. The MINEPDED plans to develop a national climate plan but has yet to secure funding. Climate risks are also not part of fiscal planning, such as macroeconomic forecasting, using a medium-term expenditure framework, nor sector planning for key sectors such as transport, water, waste management, and energy. Yet, fiscal policies can have negative impacts on climate change, such as fossil fuel subsidies. Cameroon introduced program budgeting in 2020, but out of the 37 budget programs, only the agriculture sector has a climate budget program. With no legal requirement for mainstreaming climate risk in the public investment cycle and infrastructure governance, challenges persist in incentivizing planning and budgeting for resilient public investments [3].

Additionally, the government has not yet been effective in mobilizing domestic or external resources to meet the NDCs [3]. The total cost of the investments to be made to achieve the expected objectives in the country’s current NDC is estimated at US$ 57,640 million (CFAF 28,713 billion) [2], of which a significant share depends on the mobilization of resources by development partners and the private sector. Despite efforts to allocate domestic resources to climate actions, implementation of the first NDC measures showed few of these were adequately funded. When budgeting for climate programs was done by sector ministries, little or no domestic funding was mobilized. While the country has applied to mobilize funding available under global funds (e.g., REDD+, Green Climate Fund, Adaptation Fund), limited technical capacity, staff, and resources have undermined the country’s ability to advance on accreditation processes [3].

Initiatives and Development Plans

The EU wants to support climate resilience in Cameroon. It is within this framework that the partners recently signed 2 agreements worth a total of 29 billion CFA francs (44 million euros) for the implementation of the projects “Cameroon: green, inclusive and sustainable cities” and “Cameroon: green and resilient north”.

The first project, financed by the EU to the tune of 15.7 billion CFA francs (about 24 million euros), targets the cities of Douala (in the Littoral region), Maroua (Far North) and Yaoundé (Centre). In the Cameroonian capital, it will enable the development of sustainable mobility to reduce atmospheric pollution through the implementation of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). In Douala and Maroua, the “Cameroon: Green, Inclusive and Sustainable Cities” initiative aims to develop green spaces and strengthen the waste management system in the municipalities in order to limit the impact of global warming.

The second project, “Cameroon: Green and Resilient North”, aims to strengthen the climate adaptation of agro-pastoral activities, particularly livestock, crafts and fishing, around the cities of Maroua, Garoua (in the North region) and Ngaoundéré (in Adamaoua). These northern areas are affected by drought, which affects the livelihoods of the population. At a total cost of 13 billion CFA francs (19.8 million euros), the project will eventually protect the national parks of the Faro-Benoué-Bouba Ndjida corridor [11].

Additionally, the Board of Directors of the World Bank Group has approved a $300 million loan to Cameroon. The loan is intended to finance the Local Governance and Community Resilience Project. This initiative of the Cameroonian Ministry of Decentralisation and Local Development aims to strengthen the capacity and resilience of local communities to climate change [12].

  • The country’s poverty rate could be reduced five-fold with robust climate and development reforms by 2050: from an expected 15% to 3% [3].
  • Enact a national climate law/legislation, outlining roles, responsibilities, and mandates of national institutions, and identifying clear mechanisms for coordination [3].
  • Include provisions in the decentralization law for roles and responsibilities of climate action for local governments, including budget lines for climate action financing [3].
  • Initiate climate-sensitive development planning: ensure medium- and long-term national/sector development strategies integrate climate considerations [3].
  • In 2017, an inter-ministerial committee under the Prime Minister was established to monitor the Paris Agreement (Decree 2017), however it was never convened. Operationalization of the inter-ministerial committee would help to establish a whole-of-government response to climate change across policy development, implementation, and evaluation [3].
  • Build national and municipal capacities to enforce climate policies and implement plans [3].
  • Increase budgetary financing in favor of climate actions, either through direct budgetary expenditure or through the specific funds supplied in particular by the State budget [2].
  • Deploy more efforts to mobilize resources from bilateral financing, international funds, multilateral climate funds and multilateral non-climate funds [2].
  • Establish a favorable environment to attract private resources, in particular by creating or improving the attractiveness of the country's general business environment as well as that of the investment environment specific to NDC actions [2].
  • Explore opportunities to generate new revenue that can contribute to the financing of the activities of the NDC, by making use, for example, of appropriate fiscal instruments (taxes, duties, obligations, levies, environmental taxation, etc.). The possibility of using other tax tools (subsidies, tax relief, guarantees, etc.) to encourage private investment compatible with the objectives of the NDC could also be considered [2].
  • Use public funds to catalyze private financial flows, notably through public-private partnerships (PPP) within the framework of low-carbon and climate-resilient development [2].
  • A comprehensive review of the PPP framework and its implementation would support the development of climate-smart infrastructure projects. It will be critical to ensure a uniform and efficient implementation based on the capacity and convening power of the national PPP structure, line ministries, and agencies, as well as developing a PPP pipeline based on sector assessments, to create a roadmap for mobilizing private financing [3].
  • Certain private investments could contribute to generating carbon assets whose transfer at the international level could finance certain shares of the NDC [2].
  • Develop Cameroonian capital markets to access long-term funding for climate investments. Green bonds—an innovative financial product that raises funds for environmentally aligned sustainable development projects in accelerating climate change mitigation and adaption— could provide the needed capital to meet the country’s climate commitments [3].
  • Climate actions should go hand in hand with development actions. Investments to switch agricultural production toward more resilient activities and crops, expanding renewable energy, and making infrastructure and health systems more resilient serve both goals [3].
  • Investments are needed in accelerating adaptation and resilience in urban assets, agriculture, livestock, roads, schools, and the health system [3].
  • Urgent efforts are needed in decarbonizing, eliminating flare gas, and reversing deforestation [3].
  • Systematic vulnerability assessments will help quantify potential physical and financial damages from climate change [3].

[1] Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative, University of Notre Dame (2022). ND-GAIN Country Index. [Online]. Available:


[3] World Bank Group. 2022. Cameroon Country Climate and Development Report; Cameroun - Rapport National sur le Climat et le Développement. CCDR Series;. © World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY-NC-ND.

[4] Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) (2022). Climate Risk Profile: Cameroon.

[5] Ministry of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development, Republic of Cameroon (2015). SECOND NATIONAL COMMUNICATION ON CLIMATE CHANGE.


[7] Global Water Partnership (2018). Cameroon: Preparing the National Adaptation Plan for Climate Change (NAPCC) and its Investment Strategy.

[8] United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2022). CAMEROON NATIONAL ADAPTATION PLAN. [Online]. Available:

[9] Ministry of Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Republic of Cameroon (2020). NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY 2020-2030.

[10] LSE (2022). Cameroon: Presidential Decree No. 2009/410 establishing the creation, organization and functions of the National Observatory on Climate Change. [Online]. Available:

[11] AFRIK 21 (2022). CAMEROON: EU funds €44m for sustainable cities in several regions. [Online]. Available:

[12] AFRIK 21 (2022). CAMEROON: $300 million in financing for climate-resilient infrastructure. [Online]. Available: