‘Biodiversity protection key to post-COVID-19 recovery’

Sharon Ikeazor


In a bid to recover greener and better planet for the people, the Minister of State for Environment, Mrs Sharon Ikeazor has stressed the need for stakeholders in the sector and Nigerians to stay on track with the climate targets.
   
Ikeazor stated this during a webinar to commemorate the International day for biodiversity 2020, themed “Our solutions are in nature”. According to her, biodiversity remains a basis for sustainable future and the answer to a number of development challenges that human face. This, she said ranges from nature-based solution to climate, food, water security, and sustainable livelihoods.
 
The minister reiterated that the government through the Federal Ministry of Environment is committed to the Global Biodiversity Framework under the convention on biological diversity. She disclosed that Nigeria is leading the ECOWAS member states on post 2020 biodiversity framework.
   
Ikeazor lamented the habitat changes due to unsustainable agriculture, oil exploration and exploitation as well as infrastructural development and over exploitation of biological resources, which results to deforestation and unsustainable fisheries.

“Invasive alien species exemplified in the depletion of the native mangrove by invasive nypa palm, there is pollution through oil spillage, industrial effluent and untreated sewage, among other waste management.

“The effect is climate change. During the climate Action summit at the 74th United Nations General Assembly in New York, President Muhammadu Buhari made a commitment to plant 25 million trees to mitigate the effect of climate change. This process is being driven by the ministry and the agencies such as the National Great Green Wall Agency”, she stated.
 
The Director General, Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, observed that despite all the technological advancement, humans are completely dependent on healthy and vibrant ecosystems for health, water, food, medicines, clothes, fuel, shelter and energy, among others.

He said there was therefore the need to adopt nature-based solutions which are actions designed to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems, which address societal challenges effectively, adaptively, and simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits.

According to Aminu-Kano, 80 per cent of sustainable development goals will not be met, if humans don’t stop the loss of nature. He warned that nature loss can drive pandemic as 75 per cent of all emerging infectious diseases are transmitted from animals to humans.

“Nearly half of the world’s tropical forest has been lost in the last few centuries. About 10 million hectares of native forests are being felled yearly. Halting and reversing the loss of nature is vital for achieving the sustainable development goals by the year 2030. Protecting nature is not an environmental issue but a developmental, health, social and moral issue”, he said.
 
He urged significant commitment to meeting the 25 million tree planting target, the need to embrace household solar energy, the green infrastructure for erosion control, put in place watershed protection and protection of national parks and see through the great green wall project. Other speakers at the forum include, the COP 26 Regional Ambassador for Sub-Saharan Africa, Paul Arkwright and British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing.

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