If the nation, the continent and the world hopes to recover from the damages caused by the novel Coronavirus, it will have to embrace nature.
This advice was given by the honourable Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, during her opening remarks at the webinar to mark the 2020 International Day of Biodiversity on Friday, in Abuja.
Ikeazor said though Nigeria is “rich in biodiversity” and can boast of forests, mangroves, conservatories, stocked rivers and all forms of rich biodiversity elements, her biodiversity is being threatened by habitat change, due to unsustainable agriculture, oil exploration and exploitation and infrastructural development; over-exploitation of biological resources in form of deforestation and unsustainable fishing; invasive alien species like the nypa palm invading Nigeria’s mangrove; pollution and the effects of climate change.
Ikeazor advised the government to ensure that, post-COVID-19, the nation’s recovery plan must take into account her climate actions and sustainable development goals.
Ás a global community, we have to stay on track with our climate targets for us to recover to recover greener and better for people and planet.
“Biodiversity remains the answer to a number of sustainable development challenges that we all face. From nature-based solutions, to climate, to food and water security and sustainable livelihoods, biodiversity remains the basis for a sustainable future,” Ikeazor said.
She further pledged that “the government of Nigeria, through the Federal Ministry of Environment, is fully committed to the Global Diversity framework, under the convention on Biological Diversity and Nigeria is leading the ECOWAS members states on post-2020 Biodiversity Framework.
“During the Climate Action Summit at the 74th UN General Assembly in New York, President Muhammadu Buhari made a commitment to plant 25 million trees to mitigate the effects of climate change. This process is being driven by the Ministry of Environment and the agencies under the ministry, like the National Great Green Wall Agency and also, the Federal Government had set up a National Forestry Trust Fund under the Forestry Department of the ministry,” Ikeazor said.
Ikeazor said the ministry is doing all it can to ensure that human health and the environment are safe-guarded from the effects of modern biotechnology and genetically modified organisms.