Nigeria to Take Steps in Undoing Biodiversity Loss
By Jerome Onoja
President Muhammadu Buhari has listed a number of steps towards reversing some biodiversity loss of flora and fauna that are peculiar with Nigeria and already on the brink of going extinct.
According to the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, this was made known by the President to a virtual audience at the 2020 Biodiversity Summit, held on the margins of the 75th UN General Assembly, in New York.
Buhari said: “Regrettably, most of the indigenous flora and fauna commonly found within the country are becoming endangered and facing extinction.
’To reverse this situation, we have developed the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan as an enabler for integrating biodiversity considerations into sectoral and cross-sectoral policies, plans and programmes at all levels of government.
‘’We are reviewing our biodiversity-related laws and developing shelter belts across 11 states in the country. In addressing biodiversity loss, we are implementing the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Programme in Ogoniland.
‘’The on-going clean-up is another landmark in the ecosystem restoration initiative of our administration. It is aimed at improving livelihoods of communities in the South-South Region of the country,’’ he said.
Also, he noted that tackling illegal wildlife activities is helping to prevent extinction, while establishing a nature-based tourism sector.
He affirmed the nation’s commitment to the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources, the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilisation, as well as the Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.
The president said: “Concerning ocean governance and marine biodiversity protection, Nigeria is among the first twelve countries to sign onto the 30 by 30 Global Ocean Alliance.
‘’Accordingly, we have identified two viable sites for the establishment of Marine Protected Areas to help in the protection, conservation and management of both marine and coastal biodiversity resources.
‘’Leveraging on the Strategic Action Plan of the Lake Chad Basin, Nigeria is spearheading sub-regional biodiversity action to mitigate insecurity, provide jobs, boost agricultural output, food security and reduce poverty.
‘’Towards the delivery of our biodiversity aspiration, Nigeria has concentrated on the provision of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Protocols adopted under the Convention and other relevant multilateral environmental agreements into national environmental policies and programmes,’’ he said.
Highlighting benefits of Nigeria’s national forest policy introduced earlier in the year, he noted that it would spur socio-economic growth and development.
‘’Furthermore, we are currently implementing a national programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, a mechanism developed by Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
‘’This programme is aimed at discouraging deforestation, conserving already existing forests, enhancing carbon stock and mitigating climate change impact.
‘’We have also facilitated the designation of Finima Nature Park in Bonny Island, Rivers State as the 12th Ramsar Site of international importance.
‘’The government is equally incorporating biodiversity into tourism sector through a national programme targeted at combating illegal wildlife trade and trafficking in two pilot protected area sites, namely: Gashaka-Gumti National Park; and Yankari Games Reserve,’’ Buhari added.
The summit availed the President an opportunity to restate Nigeria’s commitment to a Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, building on the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, adding that Nigeria’s national mangrove restoration project would ensure multiple benefits to its Niger Delta region.
He also canvassed for the international community’s support of the sub-regional efforts to raise $50 billion towards recharging the Lake Chad.
‘’In order to ensure that no country is left behind in meeting the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity, Nigeria enjoins advanced economies to support developing nations with capacity building, technology transfer and technical assistance.
‘’I firmly believe that traditional knowledge, innovation and the application of nature-based solutions are plausible steps to drive the biodiversity agenda,’’ he said.