The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), supported by her international partners – World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), BirdLife International and in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Environment, organised a 2-day business forum titled “naijabiz4nature”.
NCF used the forum to bring together business leaders from different sectors of the Nigerian economy to discuss what they are doing as corporate entities to protect and conserve the environment and to share ideas on how to mainstream conservation in the private sector. The business forum also served to advise Governments on what needs to be done to create a conducive atmosphere that will foster the effective participation of the Private Sector in the effort to stop the rapid decline of the environment.
The Minister (State) of Environment in her opening address stated that: “The theme for this forum ‘New Deal for Nature and People’ presupposes that we need to adopt new mechanisms, processes and interactions to improve on our current interface as a people with nature. Of course, this is to emphasize the fact that the growing development trajectory requires that we find ways of improving what we are already doing to produce a result that engenders a win-win for the country”.
The President of NCF BoT who was represented by Dame Marie Fatayi-Williams said: “The concept of this business forum was premised on the fact that business products, practices, supply chains and business models can have a major impact on critical areas of biodiversity conservation and that the private sector plays a critical role in determining how biodiversity is used and conserved”
The Chief Host, the Director General of NCF, Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano said that: “Globally, the loss of biodiversity is on the increase with devastating consequences and not enough is being done to stem the tide. The private sector plays a critical role in determining how biodiversity is used and conserved. Therefore, the sector serves as a major stakeholder in biodiversity conservation. In Nigeria, the need to have the private sector involved in the protection and conservation of nature cannot be over-emphasised. Currently, Nigeria ranks as one of the countries with the highest rate of deforestation with 350,000 to 400,000 hectares lost annually. The loss of such habitat is not only detrimental to the well-being of species, but to people and businesses. The private economic sectors of the country – Mining, Agriculture, Fishing, Finance and Banking, Oil and Gas, Pharmaceuticals, Manufacturing, etc; all depend either directly or indirectly on nature or the services provided by nature which therefore makes business sense for the private sector to invest in the conservation and protection of the ecosystem.”
The forum had 5 roundtable sessions on nature’s contribution to people; nature for business; nature of oil and gas; nature in health and financing nature.
In attendance were Honourable Samuel Onuigbo, Member, House of Representatives; Dr. Obi Adigwe, DG, National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research & Development; Director General of LCCI represented by Dr. Matthew Ojo, Ms. Alessandra Prampolini, WWF International; Prof. Ibukun Ayodele, President, Wildlife Society of Nigeria; Prof. Kayode Ogunsanwo, Secretary, Forestry Association of Nigeria; Dr. Agboola Okeyoyin, Assistant Conservator General, National Parks Service; representatives of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), Chevron Nig. Ltd, Total E&P Nig. Ltd, Coca-Cola Nig. Ltd; Shell Petroleum Development Company among others.
The event held at the Lekki Conservation Centre on Friday, 22nd and Saturday, 23rd November 2019. A Press Conference was held to round up the forum and summarise the discussions to the media.