Environment Minister Tasks Businesses On Developing Nigeria’s Biodiversity

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Nigerian businesses must be ready to adopt new mechanisms and interactions with nature in managing resources to prevent the nation from losing its rich biodiversity to the climate crisis, Honourable Minister of Environment (State), Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor has said.

The minister who spoke in Lagos at the maiden edition of the ‘Nigerian Bussinesses for Nature’ organized by the Lekki Conservation Centre (LCC) in conjunction with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said the current administration is ready to develop policy and programmes that would deepen the contribution of the Nigerian business community to the restoration of the nation’s ecosystem and preserve its biological resources.

She said the expertise, skills and funding coming from key players in the private sector in partnership with government will open up new opportunities in the nation’s biodiversity.

“Such mix would not only expose the business community to the interactions of their enterprise with nature but more importantly allow them to bring on board opportunities to use existing and possibly new and innovative financial instruments for the sustainable use and management of our biological resources,” Ikeazor said.

While stating that the success of financing instrument — green bonds issued by the Nigerian government in two tracks has been supporting the country’s fight against climate change, she noted that government is already looking at the possibility of floating blue bonds for the biodiversity conservation sub-sector.

“Blue bonds would definitely help in the sustainable management and use of our rich freshwater, marine and ocean resources which harbours a great percentage of the biological diversity of life forms in Nigeria.”

Speaking further, the minister called for tangible and realistic policy recommendations from businesses that could feed into Nigeria’s preparation to the 15th Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity taking place in China in 2020.

Meanwhile, Reps Member, Rt. Hon. Samuel Onuigbo, while addressing the forum, which has its theme as: ‘New Deal for Nature and People,’ said the Climate Change Bill currently before the green chamber will help to mainstream climate change responses and actions into government policy formulation and implementation.

The bill was passed by the 8th Assembly, but could not get to the President for assent due to the delay in reviewing some clauses. “The bill has been brought back and reintroduced to the committee of the whole and would soon be passed by the House of Representatives,” said Onuigbo, who sponsored the bill and also the Vice President, (Africa) Globe International — Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment.

Bemoaning the level of decline in nature, the Director General, Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano said the world is on the verge of losing one million species according to United Nations studies.

“The eagles and flowers on the Nigerian coat of arms have become so scarce. They’re going extinct, they’re national symbols,” but not now, he said it is increasingly becoming difficult to sight them in Nigerian communities.

Aminu-Kano also called for more private sector-driven actions aimed at developing the nation’s biodiversity. “Government voice is very loud on climate issues, but the voice of businesses is really low. We look forward to the buy-in of businesses to push the agenda.”

According to Dr. Mathew Ojo of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), business should not be about profit making alone, but should strive to preserve the environment by promoting environmentally friendly approach to business.

Ojo tasked government on the need to come up with ideas, incentives and tax holidays that could be given to businesses promoting best eco-friendly practices to spur on others, hence, encouraging them to respect biodiversity in business decisions.

Ms. Alessandra Prampolini, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said science has been able to establish that the massive extinctions on the planet is directly linked to climate change. “The change started over a century ago and we must find new approach to development. Businesses can contribute by reducing the footprint.”

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'Dotun Akintomide's journalism works intersect business, environment, politics and developmental issues. Among a number of local and international publications, his work has appeared in the New York Times. He's a winner of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Award. Currently, the Online Editor at The New Diplomat, Akintomide has produced reports that uniquely spoke to Nigeria's experience on Climate Change issues. When Akintomide is not writing, volunteering or working on a media project, you can find him seeing beautiful sites like the sandy beaches that bedecked the Lagos coastline.

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