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. Business products, practices, supply chains, and business models can have a major impact on critical areas of biodiversity conservation. Further, it has been shown that there are clear benefits to businesses in improving environmental performance.

 

In Nigeria, the need to have the private sector involved in the protection and conservation of nature cannot be overemphasised. 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.

 

Several companies in the different sectors are taking actions for biodiversity conservation in their operations however such actions are not widely shared and best practices are not being promoted. Further, there is little evidence of companies collaborating and taking collective actions for Nature.

 

It is based on these needs and more, that the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) with support from its international Partners – World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), BirdLife International and in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Environment is organizing a 2 – day Forum titled “Naija Biz4Nature”.

 

This Forum hopes to bring industry players from different sectors of the Nigerian economy to discuss what they are doing as corporate entities to protect biodiversity and to cross-fertilize ideas from different players on how to properly mainstream conservation in the private sector. It will also serve as a vehicle 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 in Nature.

 

The event holds at the Lekki Conservation Centre – a true reflection of habitat recovery and an example of an urban forestry. (Attendance is strictly by attendance)

 

 

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.

 

The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) held its annual fundraising dinner dubbed “Green Ball” with the theme “Restoring Mother Nature: New Deal for Nature and People” at the Grand Ball Room, Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

 

Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, Director General of NCF in his introductory remark, stated: “The alarming conclusions on the seriousness of climate change and environmental degradation in Nigeria makes it necessary for NCF to redouble its efforts. Recent scientific reports from the United Nations and other international agencies show us that climate change and the decline in nature have reached the point where they threaten human existence. This is more so in Nigeria where awareness of environmental issues is quite low and where these issues rank low in priority in our private and national lives. Hence, the essence of our gathering to deliberate and raise fund to raise the bar in the conservation promotion.”  

 

The President, Board of Trustees, NCF, Izoma Philip Asiodu shared his observation about the state of the environment in Nigeria: “The nation is losing its forest at a fast rate. The savannah is disappearing, mangroves are being cleared, and pollution is everywhere. The report has it that Lagos and other coastal communities may be submerged under water in 2050 if the Federal Government does not take drastic steps.”

 

Present at the dinner were Minister (State) of Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor; Member, National Assembly, Honourable Samuel Onuigbo; DMD of Total E&P Ltd, Engr. Musa Ahmadu-Kida; National Executive Council members of NCF, representative of WWF, Mr. Seif Hamisi among others.

 

Guests were entertained by renowned songstress, Onyeka Onwenu who thrilled the audience with beautiful rendition of some of her evergreen hit tracks such as Iyogogo, Ekwe, and Dancing in the Sun. 

 

The Green Ball was powered by Chevron Nigeria Limited; Total E&P Nig. Ltd; Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG); Sokoto State Government; Federal Ministry of Environment; Keystone Bank Ltd; Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc; Nigerian Breweries Plc; Coca-cola Nigeria; Environmental Accord; Empak Nig Ltd, Shoprite Holding Ltd; OVH Energy Marketing  Plc; Seplat Petroleum Development Company Ltd; Arkleen Petroleum Ltd; Northwest Petroleum & Gas Ltd and other sponsors.

 

The top-notch event held on Saturday, 23rd November 2019 had earlier in the day, the 2-day business forum which brought together stakeholders across Nigeria and internationally rounded up. The Nigerian Business for Nature was a platform where officials and business leaders shared experiences and organisation’s best practices on the environment. Participants included government officials led by Minister of State for Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor, Heads of government’s MDA’s, representatives of corporate organisations, officials of WWF, RSPB and Birdlife International.