Experts from various sectors converged on Ogun state to brainstorm on the challenges threatening the environment in Nigeria and proffer solutions. HELEN OJI reports
Sustainable development has been described as a process of development based on the co-ordination and harmonization of social, economic and environmental components, aimed at satisfying the needs of the present and providing a foundation as a base for future generations. It represents an integrated attempt to respond effectively and efficiently to the various complex developmental challenges facing a society. It is obvious from this definition that the environment is crucial to development. Unfortunately, this fact is yet to be embraced in its totality.
The emerging environmental issues, climate smart actions and the need to update all relevant environmental regulations as well as immediate commencement of the implementation of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for all policies, plans and programmes in Nigeria.
The National Council on Environment organised a three- day seminar in Ogun state tagged “Unlocking the Investment Opportunities in the Environment Sector Towards Nigeria’s Economic Recovery, Diversification, Growth and Sustainable Development”.
Growth and enhancement
The environment plays an invaluable role towards the growth and enhancement of the nation’s socio-economic activities. It contributes; directly, by providing resources and raw materials such as water, timber and minerals that are required as inputs for the production of goods and services; and indirectly, through services provided by ecosystems including carbon sequestration, water purification, managing flood risks, and nutrient cycling.
The Governor Of Ogun state, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, speaking on the occasion, said that natural resources are vital for securing economic growth and development, not only for present use but, for future generations. Therefore, concerted efforts must be put in place to ensure the protection and sustenance of our environment.
According to him, one of the critical footprints of man in today’s world is the significant addition of Green-House-Gases into the atmosphere which cause sustained spike in the global temperature, called global warming. The consequence of this is climate change. Climate change has become a global issue in recent times, manifesting in sporadic variation of different climate parameters including cloud cover, precipitation, atmospheric temperature and pressure with attendant implications on sea level. Climate change occurs as a result of continued damage to the ozone layer, leading to melting of ice glacier at the poles and consequently increasing the volume of water in the oceans, thus endangering the lives of people living within the water basins.
“The basic economic principle is that while human wants are endless, the available resources to meet them are scarce. This reality has necessitated the need to allocate resources among competing demands. This is equally relevant to government as there is the daily need to meet various expectations of the society against the very limited resources,” he stressed.
“The basic economic principle is that while human wants are endless, the available resources to meet them are scarce. This reality has necessitated the need to allocate resources among competing demands. This is equally relevant to Government as there is the daily need to meet various expectations of the society against the very limited resources,” he added.
On his part, Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibril said that the challenges, therefore made it necessary for us to consider unlocking the investment opportunities available in the sector to contribute to the government’s efforts towards the nation’s economic recovery and its diversification.
“The National Council on Environment is the highest decision making body on environment in the country, the council meets yearly to review the level of implementation of the previous year’s council decisions and assess the progress of development in the environment sector and Consider memoranda submitted by Federal, States, Local Governments and all other stakeholders on current environmental challenges and proffer solutions for implementation at all governmental levels,” he added.
The National Council on Environment noted the emerging environmental issues, climate smart actions and the need to update all relevant environmental regulations as well as immediate
commencement of the implementation of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for all policies, plans and programmes in Nigeria.
According to the Council, they resolved issues on the environment sectors as following the current Forest Cover of Nigeria is less than 4% as against the expected 25%. Therefore, exportation of charcoal in Nigeria should be banned and alternative clean source of energy should be developed and promoted.
That Federal Ministry of Environment should step up actions toward synergy with relevant MDAs through Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) in order to resolve serious challenges of
overlap, conflict and duplication of regulatory roles.
That the federal government should put in place policies and other measures to promote provision and utilization of solar energy and energy efficient cook stove.
That there should be synergy between the federal and state governments in the implementation of climate change programmes, especially on capacity building and access to global climate finance.
That state should be encouraged to put in place Waste-to- Wealth programmes/initiatives that can attract private sector participations and foreign direct investment in order to unlock investment opportunities in the waste management sub- sector.
That state governments should provide security for Federal Ministry of Environment projects under implementation in their states to prevent vandalism and also fulfil their obligations as agreed.
That the Ministry should domesticate Minamata Convention on Mercury and other Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) ratified by Nigeria.
That the Ministry and states should establish reliable electronic based data bank on Pollution Control and Waste Management issues in the country.
That Flood Early Warning Systems (FEWS) in flood prone areas should be installed by Federal, States and Local Governments to save lives and property during flooding.
That states that have indicated interest to key into the NEWMAP Programme should put aside minimum counterpart fund of N500 million, provide 12.90% of total cost of the project as well as provide base line data of erosion sites in their States.
That more awareness and sensitization should be carried out to achieve better adoption of tree planting and reforestation of degraded forest estates.