In the quest to keep on promoting conservation message despite the current world crisis, conservationists commemorated the International Day of Biodiversity (IDB) 2020 with the theme, “Our Solutions are in Nature”.
The Office of the Minister of State for the Environment in collaboration with Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Federal Department of Forestry, British High Commission and COP26 Region for Sub-Saharan Africa organised a webinar to create more awareness about threats facing biodiversity.
Chief (Mrs) Sharon Ikeazor, the Hon. Minister of State for the Environment, in her opening speech revealed that Biodiversity is the foundation of life and also is about the variety of life on earth that cover millions of species, from plants, animals, fungi and bacteria.
She said “The ecosystem is the baseline that holds all of this together. Human interaction with the ecosystem must remain balanced or else we risk disrupting nature with dire consequences. To prevent future pandemic, we must restore, conserve and protect our biodiversity.”
She added that Nigeria’s biodiversity is threatened by habitat change, over-exploitation, invasive alien species, pollution and the effect of climate change.
Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, Director General of NCF who was the Keynote Speaker stated that despite all humans technological advances, humans are completely dependent on healthy and vibrant ecosystems for their health, water, food, medicines, clothes, fuel, shelter, energy and many more.
He said further that Nature-based Solutions are actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits.
He said “Ecosystems like forests and wetlands are critical to human wellbeing and provide enormous biodiversity conservation benefits.”
Some of the solutions he proposed are preservation and restoration of wetlands and floodplains as flood management solution; protection of coastal wetlands/ecosystem is a natural risk management tool against coastal erosion; degraded forests can be restored by planting trees; Protected Areas are natural infrastructures that mitigates the impacts of climate change because they sink carbons in the environment.
He further revealed that the SDG 3, 13, 14 and 15 largely depend on nature (biodiversity) to be achieved. Therefore, he advised that governments, corporate institutions and individuals must arise to address the issues affecting environmental sustainability in Nigeria.
This year’s International Day for Biological Diversity is targeted towards raising awareness and building momentum on the importance of biodiversity as well as global issues on biodiversity loss.
Also present at the meeting were Her Excellency, Mrs. Catriona Laing, British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ambassador Paul Arkwright, COP26 Regional Ambassador for Sub-Saharan Africa, Mr Desmond Majekodunmi, NCF Council member and other nature enthusiasts.