The Nigerian government, Economic Countries of West African States (ECOWAS) and other stakeholders have expressed worried over continuous loss of biodiversity and degradation of ecosystems, assuring to tackle the situation efficiently.
The Minister of State for Environment, Mr Udi Odum spoke at the opening of the ECOWAS Coordination Meeting for the Upcoming 15th Conference of Parties to Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP-15), in Abuja on Monday.
Odum, said that the ministry, in collaboration with the ECOWAS and other relevant stakeholders decided to convene the meeting to discuss on better ways to tackle the challenges.
He said that the objective of the meeting was to deliberate on the regional position and priority areas for the sub-region on the CBD Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).
According to him, ”the purpose of the meeting is to discuss about the upcoming CBD COP 15 in Montreal, Canada.
“As you are aware, the continuous loss of biodiversity and degradation of ecosystems threaten global development aspirations.
“We all know, if the SDGs are in jeopardy, for us in Africa, it will mean that progress toward the agenda 2063 will also be undermined.
“We are all aware that world`s ecosystems and biodiversity are deteriorating at an alarming rate, thereby, undermining humanity`s well-being and its future existence.
“It is sad to note that the Aichi Biodiversity Target had failed to realise its objectives which were set out in the CBD framework to show the loss of biodiversity.”
The minister said that the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) indicated that the current negative trends in biodiversity and ecosystems would undermine the progress.
Odum said that the progress targeted toward 80 per cent of Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs), which related to water, cities, health, climate, oceans, land and hunger.
“We cannot continue to stay on this path we are currently on which is the continuous and accelerated destruction of nature.
“This path holds cascading consequences for nature in all ecosystems and on climate, including tipping transitional earth from a carbon sink to carbon emitter.
“This path also holds grave consequences for humankind as we have seen from the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic which has affected the global economy,” he said.
The minister said that the meeting was an opportunity to make a difference by tackling all the critical issues that would be discussed.
Odum said: “I, thereby, call all the ECOWAS family to come together and prioritise our commitment in the GBF negotiation, I encourage you to be bold and decisive in your decisions, but never losing sight of our goal.”
The minister was represented by the acting Director, Department of Forestry of the ministry, Mr John Daniel.
The Head of Department, ECOWAS Directorate of Environment, Mr Bernard Kofi, said that the sub regional body had invested in the promotion of the imperative for the climate change.
Kofi said that the meeting would give the opportunity for efficient negotiation of biodiversity during the COP 15 and aid to discuss the necessary measures to preserve planet.
He urged the participants to as well appeal to donors and international community to enable efficient implementation of the GBF.
He, however, appealed to the relevant stakeholders to unite for better ambition to ensure that the earth was restored and preserved.
“Let us all concentrate on the restoration of the biodiversity, the protected areas should be used in the maximum and be expanded to cover 30 per cent of the surface of the earth between now and 2030.
“In this way, everybody has a crucial role to play to preserve the future of coming generation for a better planet where the generation can live in harmony with nature,’’ Kofi said.
The Director-General, Nigeria Conservation Foundation (NCF), Dr Joseph Onoja, said that the countries were being faced by twin challenges which include; nature/biodiversity loss and climate change.
Onoja said, “The challenges were two sides of the same coin,” adding that the NCF was committed to ensuring effective collaboration.
The Policy and Partnerships, Manager, African Wildlife Foundation, Ms Joy Anangwe, said it was ready to be an integral part of shaping the conservation agenda in ECOWAS.