‘Connecting People to Nature’ is the theme for World Environment Day 2017, which implores people to go out and embrace nature, appreciate its beauty and its importance, while protecting the earth that harbours nature.
By Kingsley Adegboye
AS Nigeria joined the rest of the world to celebrate World Environment Day WED, 2017, last week, environmentalists and other stakeholders in the sector have emphasised the need to reconnect to nature and protect the earth, just as they dismissed Donald Trump’s pull out of Paris climate change accord struck in 2015. WED which is an annual event is celebrated June 5 every year.
The Minister of State for Environment, Alhaji Ibrahim Jibril, while speaking at the World Environment Day organised by Federal Ministry of Environment in collaboration with United Nationas Development Programme UNDP, in Abuja, urged stakeholders to support the Federal Government in its efforts to protect the nation’s environment.
He said that the World Environment Day was aimed at mobilising the general public to understand that everyone was responsible for safeguarding the environment, pointing out that the government’s efforts to save the ecosystem, in partnership with the private sector, would go a long way in achieving a sustainable and healthy environment. The minister who disclosed that WED was set aside by the United Nations UN, to raise global awareness about the importance of healthy and green environment to human existence, added that the day is also aimed at solving environmental issues by implementing some positive environmental actions.
He listed the environmental challenges facing the country as desertification in the North, coastal erosion in the South East and South West and oil pollution in the Niger Delta.
He therefore urged all stakeholders to come together and make concerted efforts to protect the nation’s environment.
In her remark, Ms Harriet Thompson, United Kingdom’s Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, said that the 2011 Climate Change Vulnerability Index indicated that climate change could result in a loss in Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product GDP.
She noted that it could result in six per cent and 30 per-cent GDP loss by 2050, adding that the estimated cost of the loss was between 100 and 460 billion U.S. dollars.
“In addition to global climate risks, there are immediate local impacts of the carbon economy in Nigeria. We are pleased that one billion dollars has been committed by the Federal Government and international oil companies for the Ogoni cleanup.”
The Director-General of Nigerian Conservation Foundation NCF, Mr. Adeniyi Karunwi at NCF forum to celebrate the Day, said WED celebration is a major medium by which students express global environmental concerns within the peculiarity of the nation, pointing out that “Our experience over the years has shown that students are ever ready to inform the public about environmental issues such as Climate Change, Waste Management, Ocean Surge, Deforestation, and other human activities that affect the environment.
“This has gone further to infuse values and eco-friendly ethics among the youthful participants. WED has equally served as an advocacy tool for engaging stakeholders such as corporate organizations, federal and state governments and the public, most of whom have already celebrated WED in Nigeria. Some participants have taken on careers in environment-related disciplines as ambassadors due to their active participation in the past WED celebrations”, Karunwi.
For Prof. Oladele Osibanjo, the President, Waste Management Society of Nigeria WAMASON, there is the need for a new resource mobilisation and funding, to effectively implement environmental projects in the country.
Osibanjo made the call in Lagos at the 2017 World Environment Day celebration organised by the Lagos State Ministry of Environment in conjunction with ‘Save the Children International’.
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