By Emma Okereh
A Nigerian woman , Mrs Edel-Quinn Agbaegbu , founder of Every Woman Hope Centre (EWHC), an NGO that specialises in advocacy for food security and biodiversity sustainability, received special commendation last week by the Canada-based Convention on Biological Diversity, CBD, an arm of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), for her role in the agency’s Voluntary Peer Review (VPR), of the revision and implementation of the National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan 2015-2025 (NBSAP11) of the Republic of Uganda.
Mrs Agbaegbu, from Imo State, who served as Nigeria’s Country Representative at the peer review program was among the team that received commendation in a statement titled “Notification: Voluntary Peer Review (VPR)-Uganda’’ dated May 26, 2021 and signed by Elizabeth Maruma, Executive Secretary of CBD.
While announcing the official release of the Uganda Review Report on CBD’s website, the CBD Executive Secretary acknowledging the work of the group she described as “dedicated review team’’ and identified the members as ‘’ Mr. Eduardo Queblatin (Team Leader) from the Philippines, Ms. Edel-Quinn Ijeoma Agbaegbu from Nigeria, Ms. Lalaina Randrianasolo from Madagascar and Dr. Jonathan Mufandaedza from Zimbabwe.’’
The CBD Executive Secretary also explained that ‘’the final report of the voluntary peer review (VPR) of the revision and implementation of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2015-2025 of Uganda has been published as an information document for the third meeting of the subsidiary Body on implementation, (SBI).’’
She added that further information on the VPR mechanism, ’adopted at the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties in decision 14/29 as an element of the multidimensional review approach under the convention is available on the Convention’s website at: https://www.cbd.int/nbsap.vpr.’’
Reacting to the commendation of her efforts in the Uganda review assignment, Agbaegbu said she is appreciative of what she did as a member of an international team of experts that visited Uganda in 2018 to carry out the assessment work.
She explained in a press statement she issued in Abuja, at the weekend that greater appreciation should go to the government of Nigeria which found her eminently qualified and capable of representing the country, by virtue of endorsement of her nomination by the immediate past Minister of Environment.
Agbaegbu stated that she now feels challenged to do more for Nigeria and will soon produce a report on her experience for inward submission to the federal government of Nigeria, with a recommendation that Nigeria should be the second country, after Uganda that will invite the CBD Secretariat to come and review the country.
A graduate of Micro-biology from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Mrs Agbaegbu has been hitting media headlines of recent.
Under her leadership as Executive Director, EWHC has been playing key roles as a strong NGO, in promoting issues of environment, food security and biodiversity at national and international levels. One of the commitments made the NGO in Africa was in relation to what became popularly known as ‘’the Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt; to Kunming, China, Action Agenda for Nature and People’’, geared towards reversing biodiversity loss and promoting positive gains to 2030 and for the transformative changes needed to achieve the 2050 Vision of Living in Harmony with Nature.
Indeed, EWHC made the first biosafety commitment on the Action Agenda. It involved promoting the implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity, to ensure safe handling, transfer and use of living modified organisms to help in raising awareness on the urgent need to halt the loss of biodiversity and restore healthy ecosystems.
The commitment is part of the positive actions for the Action Agenda, to set the stage for an ambitious global biodiversity framework, to be adopted in Kunming, China, in 2021. It is available at: https://www.cbd.int/action-agenda/contributions/action/?action-id=5f486c36b704c80001b000db.
In furtherance to the commitment, EWHC became the first and only global biosafety commitment out of 156, as at December, 16, 2020. This indeed is historic and a pride to Nigeria and Africa.