By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
The Federal Government has reiterated readiness to continue collaboration with international partners to address environmental degradation, climate change and other obstacles caused by Covid-19.
Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammed Mahmood stated this at the 14th meeting of the National Council on Environment in Abuja.
The three day event with the theme “Managing Emerging Environmental Challenges: Need For Strategic Approach To Sustainable Development in Covid-19 Era and Beyond” was organised by the Federal Ministry of Environment in collaboration with international partners.
The Minister said the continued collaboration with the government aims at dealing with climate change, water scarcity, shortage of food and other issues affecting social, political and economic development in the country.
He said, “the challenges of Covid-19 has further amplified the sectors with respect to rapid loss of biodiversity, desert encroachment, deforestation, flooding, erosion, pollution and other issues which if not urgently checked could put the citizenry in further jeopardy.
“The mission of the Ministry is to accelerate implementation of the Ogoni-clean up, Green Wall Programme, promote and set target for tree planting towards meeting President Muhammadu Buhari” declared commitment to planting 25million trees in the year 2025, actively collaborate with the private sector to create a large number of well-paying jobs for the Nigeria youths and implement a strategy towards the realisation of Mr President to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years,” the Minister explained.
In her address, the Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor said collective efforts was needed in the pursuit to address environmental challenges and safeguarding human health against stresses such as land degradation, flood and erosion, desertification, loss of biodiversity, and climate change.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has serves as a veritable reminder of the need for countries to include protection of its biodiversity as part of interventions to effectively manage outbreaks of emerging infectious that cause sporadic outbreaks and epidemics,” she said
An Environmental Expert, United Nations Industrial Developmental Organisation, UNIDO, Regional office for Nigeria and Economic Community of West African States ECOWAS, Mr Oluyomi Banjo said his organisation will continue to do its best in supporting Nigeria to address its environmental challenges.
Mr Banjo says, “Gone are the days where environmental issues were secondary discussions and topics, now it’s at the front burner and its is a component out of the three unsustainable development, for us at UNIDO we are very well pleased and we will continue to support the country in emerging environmental issues, and make sure Nigeria meet up with the sustainable development.”
He also commended the Minister for State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor for the passage of the National policy on solid waste management, National policy of Plastic waste management by the National Assembly.
National Consultant Public Health and Environment, World Health Organisation, WHO, Mr. Edwin Isotu Edeh, said there was the need for government at all levels to invest in all aspect of environment for the benefit of humanity.
He explained that the environment provide all material aspect any country need for development.
According to him, with the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020 one of the key action was the need for solidarity, which he said the WHO commended the efforts from various stakeholders and sectors, including the Ministry of environment.
“This event is very critical because it brings stakeholders on ways to come up with solutions of addressing Nigerians emerging and preventing challenges in the environment to us in the WHO it is very important in ensuring that environment sustainability is maintain in all sectors, it is also a reminder for the need for the WHO to strengthen the world Health Approach that connect environment, Agriculture and health in addressing emerging and re-emerging challenges in the environment.
“It also raise the need for the WHO to promote integrated National environment health surveillance system, which the Oragnisation is currently working on together with the Nigerian Ministry of Environment,” he explained.
Another developmental partner, the National coordinator, Small Grants Programme, Mrs Ronke Oluwabamise also pledged the Organisation solidarity to support the Ministry of Environment in working with communities in the country.
“The Organisation believes that there is an important aspect the community can take in the fight against environmental challenges in Nigeria,” she added.
The annual National Council on Environment meeting brings stakeholders together to discuss key environmental issues in the country.