By Emma Okereh
As the count down to the United Nations Environment Program scheduled to hold in Kunming, China in 2021, with the theme: “Sharm El-Sheikh to Kunming Action Agenda for Nature and People”, Every Woman Hope Centre (EWHC), a Nigerian Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), has been designated by the Secretariat of Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD), United Nation’s Environment Program (UNEP), as leader in biosafety commitments, out of 150 global commitments, as of November 20, 2020. Details of this achievement are contained in the CBD program website: An agenda for action
A statement by EWHC signed by its Executive Director, Mrs Edel-Quinn Ijeoma Agbaegbu, on Tuesday, stated that the NGO has entered into a collaboration with National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) ahead of the Kunming, China summit that will accelerate the inclusive engagement in presenting a Nigerian people focus agenda.
Mrs. Agbaegbu who is also the Nigeria’s Country Representative, Voluntary Peer Review (VPR) Process, CBD, UNEP, called on all stakeholders across the public and private sectors, the civil society and CBOs to scale-up broad-based engagements framework that will distil a common national agenda for Nigeria at the forum. “We need to scale-up engagement towards the commitment, which is aimed at mobilizing all stakeholders to develop strategic plans and actions on public awareness around biosafety and biodiversity, as well as facilitate awareness-raising activities to disseminate adequate information on implementation strategies”, the statement noted. EWHC’s recent partnership with NBMA, an agency under the Federal Ministry of Environment will further strengthen efforts to actualize its goals and commitments for the action agenda.
In the same vein, the Director-General / Chief Executive Officer of the NBMA Dr. Rufus Ebegba noted the need for the collaboration with EWHC to strengthen the efforts towards safeguarding the country’s Biodiversity in the country. The agency therefore constituted a 9-man committee consisting of staff of the NBMA, to support EWHC in her efforts to identify, as well as implement priorities, capable of supporting these commitments, in line with the focus on implementing the Plan for the Cartagena Protocol and its adoption at the next COP-MOP in 2021.
Agbaegbu, commended the NBMA management for the partnership on biosafety and biodiversity sensitization, to enhance the transformative changes needed to achieve the 2050 Vision of Living in Harmony with Nature. She said “EWHC is excited with this agreement; and has been emboldened to forge towards actualizing her commitments. It is heart-warming and encouraging indeed”, she added.
“This is a clear manifestation of full support, from the Federal Ministry of Environment and the Government of Nigeria, for our organisation to hoist the Nigerian flag at the global stage for biosafety at Kunming, China, next year. We will take every advantage offered by CBD and UNEP to showcase Africa, Nigeria especially; and highlight its challenges and needs, in areas of biodiversity and environment at large’’, she concluded.
The EWHC’s commitment activity program will kick off on December 8, 2020 with a webinar discussion on biosafety and biodiversity with the theme: “motivating strategic plans and actions for public awareness on biosafety and biodiversity, to enhance partnership with nature”. It confirmed that Dr. Ebegba, shall participate in the Webinar program as a keynote speaker.
Other participants and invitees for the program shall include; Ministers of relevant ministries, the chairman of Senate Committee on Environment, the chairman of House of Representatives Committee on Environment, scholars and experts on environment from universities and institutions from Nigeria, Cameroon, the Gambia, Uganda, Canada and other countries.
EWHC has been working with women, children and the vulnerable in Nigeria to address the twin issues of environment and livelihoods through advocacy and collaborative partnership with community-based organisations (CBOs), the civil society, media, private sector and the government promoting public awareness on the impact of biodiversity in poverty reduction and enhance living standard of the poor and excluded in Nigeria and beyond.