Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The federal government has described the quest for a sustainable environmental management as a global concern, saying that the impact of climate change, high rate of deforestation, loss of biodiversity, land degradation as well as desertification, and flooding “are staring us in the face.”
The Minister of Environment, Mrs. Amina Mohammed, who raised the concern in Abuja yesterday, said this explained why the current administration made sustainable environment management one of its six pillars.
In an address presented on her behalf by the the Director of Forestry in her ministry, Mr. Felix Bankole, at the sixth annual meeting of the African Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions Working Group on Environment Audit (AFROSAI WGEA), Mohammed noted that the environment serves to sustain humans.
“And unless we have a clear knowledge of what is happening to our environment, we may not be able to make appropriate policies for sustainable environmental management,” she said.
According to her, the protection of the environment is the responsibility of everyone, assuring of government’s preparedness to provide the enabling environment.
In her welcome address, the Acting Auditor General of the Federation (AuGoF), Mrs. Florence Anyanwu, said the main theme of the meeting, “Working Together for a Healthy and Sustainable Environment in Africa” was apt while the meeting was significant.
The significance of the meeting, she said, stemmed from the fact that it was coming after the Paris conference on Climate Change, and the adoption by the United Nations Assembly in September 2015, of the 2030 Development Agenda, which provides 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be implemented by all countries of the world.
The Acting AuGoF expressed the hope that the objectives of the 6th AFROSAI WGEA meeting, which include strengthening Supreme Audit Institutions’ (SAIs’) capacities on technical aspects of environmental auditing , SDGs and other international environmental agreements, among others, would be successfully carried out at the end if the meeting.
“Nigeria would particularly like to see that the Niger Basin Authority comprising Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Nigeria agree to commence the Cooperative Environmental Audit Project on River Niger and also develop a roadmap where SAIs are not isolated from service delivery, sustainability needs and performance requirements, even where legal mandates restrict SAIs to financial audit,” Anyanwu said.
Also in her remarks, the AFROSAI WGEA Chair and Minister Delegate of the Presidency in charge of the Supreme State Audit Office of Cameroon, Mrs. Mbah Acha Rose Fomundam, regretted that for some years now, environmental had become a global challenge, synonymous with responsibility towards future generations.
Fomundam noted that through many initiatives, conferences and summits, world leaders came to the understanding that the natural riches of the earth are unlimited.
“At the same time, citizens have increasingly expected that organisations that hurt the environment be held accountable for their actions.
“Many citizens feel that government declarations concerning the environment and sustainable development should be subject to independent audits to assess the extent to which they are implemented,” she said.
But she lamented that despite the signing of multilateral agreements on the environment, and established institutions, current scientific studies reveal that many of the planet’s ecosystems have rapidly deteriorated over the last 20 years.
The 6th AFROSAI WGEA meeting which holds between September 12 and 16 in Abuja, has in attendance, representatives from about 44 African countries, Belgium, Germany and Indonesia, among others, as well as development partners.
AFROSAI WGEA is the African regional branch of a global working group of the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions I (INTOSAI).