Nigerian Government has been admonished to not only be thinking of economic growth and forget other major pillars that make sustainable development holistic i.e. environmental stewardship and social inclusion - which cut across all sectors of development.
The advice was given by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation at her 24th Annual General Meeting in Lagos.
The President of the Foundation, Chief Philip Asiodu in his speech said that effort should be made to exploit all available options to get financial resources to generate sustainable development practices aimed at empowering people to adopt climate friendly survival options.
He added that everyone should support the need to implement programmes and projects that are environmental friendly while boosting environmental awareness and education, advocating positive lifestyles and influencing policy for an ethical management of what we regard as free gifts of nature. "It is only by investing in nature that we can create a sustainable future for everyone".
In his own remarks, the Chairman of the Foundation, Ambassador Hamzat Ahmadu, called on the government to incorporate the environmental education strategy which was developed long ago into the National Education Curriculum of Secondary Schools.
"Environmental Education at the secondary school level will ensure that children, at an early stage, act as conservation ambassadors in their communities. These children will keep the knowledge of the environment and conservation with them for the rest of their lives. They will also be able to educate their parents and communities about the environment. They will eventually grow up to be adults with a greater appreciation of nature and the need for conservation, making informed decisions".
Hamzat who was represented by Justice Bukola Adebiyi said that also stressed the need to develop strategic plans for the country which should emphasize the importance, not only of recognizing children as key stakeholders in the policy-making process, but also to promote environmental education for sustainable development as a means of enabling future leaders to find innovative solutions to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change and environmental degradation in their lives and communities.
The Acting Executive Director of the Foundation, Alade Adeleke called for proper management of coastal resources. According to him, it is worthy of note that economies of nations that have coastal resources in most cases are not without revolving around the coast. As in many nations, our country is endowed with coastal resources with the Atlantic Ocean and associated lagoons and estuaries forming the entire southern border of the country.
Adeleke added that managing our nation’s coastal resources is not only important for its biodiversity, but for the support to human development through recreation, fisheries, navigation, mineral resource utilisation , mangrove and forestry resource utilisation, marine wildlife utilisation and management etc.
"The implication of climate change on coastal communities becomes more pertinent with the increasing evidence on the melting in the Polar Regions. It is also important to note that the large concentrations of human populations are in coastal areas in most countries including Nigeria. The future of millions of people depends on better management of coastal resources".