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) held its annual fundraising dinner dubbed “Green Ball” with the theme “Restoring Mother Nature: New Deal for Nature and People” on Saturday, 23rd November, 2019 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, and other sponsors.

 

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.