Experts Urged Stakeholders Should Collaborate to Restore Lagos Environment

Monday, 08 June 2020 07:48

Lagos State Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources commemorated the International Day of Biodiversity (IDB) with the theme “Our Solutions are in Nature” through a webinar on Thursday, 28th May, 2020.

 

The International Day for Biological Diversity is celebrated each year to raise global awareness about the importance of protecting biological resources and the global biodiversity that shapes our environment, not only the various species of plants, animals and microorganisms around us, but also the genetic diversity of each of them, as well as the great variety of ecosystems that make up our planet.

 

Speaking at the conference on “Conserving Wetlands For Sustainable Urban Livelihood”, Mr. Adedamola Ogunsesan, Project Manager, Lekki Conservation Centre said that wetlands provide a diversity of ecosystem services; provisioning, regulatory, supporting and cultural services which are essential for the human society. This is particularly necessary in cases where large urban agglomerations exist.

 

He revealed further that wetlands are areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt-water, including areas of marine within the depth no more than six(6) meters at low tide.

 

He portrayed wetlands as a source with the capability of providing humans with freshwater, ensure food supply, sustain biodiversity, protect against flooding, and store carbondioxide. Wetlands remain a major source of employment globally, they are also ideally placed to showcase truly sustainable livelihoods.

 

He said “Wetlands provide many ecosystem services. However, many of the services are not traded in regular economic markets, and thus have no observable prices. This fact contributes to the continued degradation of many wetlands and natural sites around the state. Moreover, competition for land uses and the societal demands for urbanization and development have exacerbated the pressures on wetlands”

 

In her presentation on “The Role Of Nature In Ecosystem Sustainability”, Dr. Fisayo Jerome, Fisheries Resources Department, Marine Biology Section, Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR) defined nature as a phenomenon of the natural world, things that are not made by human, examples include air, water, animal, and weather and so on. While Ecosystem is defined as a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment. Examples of the ecosystem are; Aquatic (Marine and Fresh), Terrestrial (Desert, Savanna and Forest) and Human etc. She sees Sustainability as the study of how natural systems function, remain diverse and produce everything it needs for the ecology to remain in balance.

 

She highlighted the importance of nature and ecosystem as the provision of habitat to wild plants and animals; supporting different food chains and food webs; regulating essential ecological processes and support lives; and involving in the recycling of nutrients between biotic and abiotic components.

 

She said further that “Nature sustain the integrity of the ecosystem by maintaining ecological processes and a diverse community of organisms. For example, protect the water, reduce logging and reduce chlorofluorocarbon”.

 

She, however, identified some factors affecting the integrity of the ecosystems as loss of biodiversity, climate change, deforestation and habitat loss, overexploitation, invasive species and pollution.

 

Mr. Ogunsesan invited stakeholders to collaborate with the Lagos State Government to provide the following solutions: inventory and documentation of wetlands resources; wetlands valuation; participatory management of wetlands; urban plans inclined towards sustainable wetlands; wetlands restoration; develop RAMSAR designation roadmap and develop wetlands conservation masterplan.

 

Dr. Jerome proposed that for the ecosystem to be fully restored, the following must be done: repairing and replanting wetlands, creek beds, forestland, and other habitats; eradicating invasive species; replacing invasive species with native species; enforcing environmental laws; monitoring lagoons and wetlands habitats and preparing reports on findings to government authorities; and also the protection of vulnerable and endangered species in the marine environment.

 

 

 

 

 

Federal Ministry of Environment, NCF and Others declare “It’s Time for Nature”

Wednesday, 03 June 2020 18:49

“Wildlife animals and plants are the basis on which human lives depends in terms of food, oxygen, shelter, and medicine hence, there must be good management of these natural resources for posterity” – Muhtari Aminu-Kano.

 

“We all know that trees are of indispensable importance to human wellbeing & our environment. Nigeria Government has no higher duty than to protect the Nigeria people and the environment” – Dr. Muhammad Mahmood. 

 

The Federal Ministry of the Environment in collaboration with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) is set to commemorate the World Environment Day (WED) with the theme “Biodiversity” on Friday, 5th June, 2020. 

 

The collaboration will deliver a webinar to commemorate the most important annual global event for positive environmental action and use the occasion to call for serious attention to nature while admonishing people to imbibe conservation practices.

 

Leading the discussion is Dr Muhammad Mahmood, the Honourable Minister of the Environment, together with Chief (Mrs.) Sharon Ikeazor, Honourable Minister of State for the Environment. Other speakers are Chief Ede Dafinone, Chairman, National Executive Council, NCF; Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, Director General, NCF and Ms. Katherine Kaetzer-Hodson, Environment, Science, Technology and Health Officer, US Embassy in Nigeria. The webinar will be moderated by Mr. Demola Ajagbe, Regional Director, BirdLife Africa. 

 

World Environment Day is celebrated on 5th June every year, and it is the biggest United Nation annual event for positive environmental actions. The event focuses on environmental concerns ranging from pollution, global warming, sustainable food production and protection of wildlife.

 

Every year, the event is used to shore up public engagement and advocacy about the state of the environment and deliberate necessary local actions that will ensure global environmental sustainability.

 

Recently, the International Day for Biodiversity was hosted through a webinar by the two organisations and was widely participated by local and international audience.

 

 

Click here to join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID:93672507603

Password: NCF2020



 

 

 

 

New Deal for Nature and People: Lessons from COVID-19

Wednesday, 03 June 2020 07:56

 

 

 

 

(In this interview, Dr. Joseph Onoja, Director, Technical Programmes, Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) reveals the interaction among business, people and nature.)

 

Q1. NCF has been at the vanguard of nature conservation and biodiversity in Nigeria over the last 40years. What are some of the milestones and challenges of nature conservation and biodiversity in Nigeria? 

A1. One major milestone that NCF has achieved is the development of the National Conservation Strategy – 1984. NCF has also led the advocacy for the domestication of the Endangered Species Act (Decree No. 11 of 1985), which was recently reviewed in 2016. NCF also played a lead role in the establishment of the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) which is the precursor of the Federal Ministry of Environment. In terms of challenges of nature conservation in Nigeria, lack of awareness of the importance of biodiversity is at the fore. Another challenge is the fact that areas of high biodiversity coincide with areas of high poor rural population. This has led to overexploitation of nature, both by the rural population and by external, more organized cartel, who capitalize on the socioeconomic situation of these rural people to exploit biodiversity at a larger scale. 

 

Q2. The lockdown imposed to control the spread of COVID19 affected the operations of many organisations across Africa. How has it affected NCF’s work and how has NCF been able to adapt its operations? 

A2. No doubt, the lockdown has affected NCF's activities especially in the area of fieldwork. However, this challenge is being managed by our work approach. Our work approach ensures that community members living around the field sites and Protected Areas that NCF manages, make up the larger part of the workforce. This made it easier to continue work despite the lockdown. 

 

Q3. NCF is an advocate to ensure illegal trade of wildlife is stopped. Considering that wildlife is undomesticated, why and how are they crucial to humanity and livelihood? 

A3 Nature has created a delicate balance where these wildlife play critical roles for the overall conducive living of mankind in the world. For instance, a Pangolin consumes over 70 million ants and termites in one year saving a forest as large as 31 soccer fields. Imagine what will happen to mankind if 70 million ants and termites are unleashed on us!. Another example is the critical role vultures play in ensuring that #diseases don’t spread, by them cleaning up carcasses before they develop spores that will transmit infections such as Cholera, Botulism, etc. Or imagine how we will get our food if the incredible pollinators, Bees, disappear from nature. These are a few examples to illustrate the importance of wildlife to our survival and livelihood. 

 

Q4. What are roles can the government, corporate organisations, communities and individuals play in wildlife conservation? 

A4 Everyone has a role to play in the conservation of biodiversity because it concerns all of us. The government at all levels have to ensure policies that will promote nature conservation are put in place. “NewDealForNature” COVID19 Africa4Nature. Corporate organizations have to support nature conservation because the environment is the number 1 factor of production, without which they will not be able to produce or offer whatever service they have to offer. Communities and individuals also play vital roles as direct custodians of these wildlife by ensuring that their activities and actions do not impact wildlife negatively. 

 

Q5. Considering the negative impact of illegal wildlife trade, what policies and strategies could be implemented by African leaders? Are there countries, in or out of Africa, from whose approach we could draw lessons? 

A5. Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) is a transnational crime and can to a large extent, be combatted successfully by international cooperation with local input. There are some policy instruments which the governments of various national and regional levels are employing. However, a major gap is proper enforcement of these instruments and the capacity of Law Enforcement Agents. There are different countries doing their bits especially in Eastern and Southern African countries where enforcement of wildlife laws is at the same level with other crimes like armed robbery. 

 

Q6. Still about wildlife, are there relationships between illegal wildlife trade and the COVID19 pandemic, among other health emergencies such as Ebola in Africa in the recent years? 

A6. Absolutely! Naturally, some animals harbour some diseases which are not harmful to them and it will remain docile as long as it remains in their population. However, IWT disrupts that balance and such diseases become zoonotic and crosses over to the human population with devastating consequences. Most of these infections are passed through fluid and by handling (or manhandling) these animals, humans get infected. When animals are transported packed in cages, infected and non-infected ones, they become all infected and increases the likelihood of the infection crossing over to the human population. 

 

Q7. The COVID19 pandemic has impacted all the sectors on the African economy, what's your perspective of COVID19 and the various strategies deployed towards curbing the spread of the virus on nature conservation and biodiversity? 

A7. So far, there have been few visible strategies; one can confidently comment on such governments banning the handling of wildlife and closing down illegal wildlife markets, which are positive steps in the right direction. Also, the lockdown has had tremendous impact on the environment as the level of air pollution has drastically reduced and the restricted movement is making wildlife reclaim areas where they were absent for a long time. 

 

Q8. There has been an ongoing campaign “NewDealForNature” and People. What is the “NewDealForNature” and People? And what is NCF doing to contribute to the campaign?  

A8 The year 2020 has been termed the ‘Super Year for Nature’. It gives us an opportunity to pause and have a rethink of how we have been related with nature, which invariably has impact on people. The “NewDealForNature” and People is an opportunity to make ambitious global commitment to Nature because it is our life-support system – and therefore the component of people. In terms of NCF’s contribution, as early as November 2019, we hosted the first ever “NewDealForNature” and #People campaign focused on Businesses, where we tried to win them over to be on the side of Nature and People in their Business practices. This was made possible by the collaboration between Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and NCF (the only WWF Affiliate or country office in West Africa). Working with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), we hope to roll out programmes to ensure businesses are sustainability compliant. 

 

Q9. Given that the central focus of the “NewDealForNature” and People is to recalibrate human interaction with nature, what are your suggestions on the contributions of various stakeholders towards ensuring this is achieved? 

A9 I think the first thing is that there must be a paradigm shift, where instead of humans looking at ourselves as apart from nature, we will see ourselves as a part of nature. This will help us know that whatever happens to nature our life support system, we will be the first to be impacted and heavily. Humans, anatomically and physiologically, are the least equipped to live on earth and the earlier we realise that the safer it will be for us. We don’t have furs to cover our bare skin, no claws and no tails. So, if we don’t protect nature to protect us, nature will protect itself but at our detriment. This is the message humans need to hear to recalibrate our thinking. 

 

Q10. Do you have some advice on the post COVID19 recovery plans and strategies in Africa? 

A10 Any post COVID19 recovery plans that does not factor environmental consideration may likely not have much impact. The environment serve as a shock absorber to many especially the rural poor who were already the most vulnerable to climate change. So, the post COVID19 recovery plans and strategies should be seen as an opportunity to tackle not only the immediate effect of the pandemic, but the impact of climate change that has been hanging over them before the COVID-19 era. 

 

AN EXCERPT FROM TWEETCHAT ORGANISED BY AFRICA4NATURE HEALTH INITIATIVE IN COMMEMORATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR BIODIVERSITY 2020.