Expert Identifies Challenges Facing Environmental Sustainability

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By Olaseni Durojaiye
 

Environmentalist, Dr. Modupe Odubela has identified inadequate continental and global agreements, inadequate institutional capacities and ill-defined priorities among others as some of the challenges facing environmental sustainability even as she suggested incentivising compliance with environmental protection legislation among industries.

Odubela said that collaboration among stakeholders at all level was key to achieving a good regime of environmental governance for environmental sustainability in order to create a level playing field for the regulated community adding that non-compliance with environmental protection legislation engendered environmental degradation and undermines progress towards sustainable development.

Odubela, who was a former Director, Environmental Impact Assessment, Federal Ministry of Environment, Abuja stated so in her lecture titled “Developing a workable work plan for environmental sustainability: Cost implications, benefits and drawbacks,” during the 32nd Annual General Meeting of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Ogun State branch.

While noting that there were conflicting instances in the body of statutory legislation around the monitoring and enforcement of environmental standard in Ogun State, she advised that Ministry of Environment in the state and the Ogun State Environmental Protection Agency (OGEPA) to work in unison since they were set up to achieve the same goal.

According to her, “Sustainable development is a state in which the demands placed on the environment can be met without reducing its capacity to allow all people to live well, now and in the future. 

The main goals of sustainable development are economic growth, environmental protection and social and human well-being.

“A stable environment, the fostering of economic development and the enhancing of social wellbeing are inter-linked and inseparable. In reality, the world’s economies would grind to a halt without the services that the ecosystems provide.

“A key aspect of good governance for environmental sustainability is cooperation among key stakeholders at all levels so as to create a level playing field for the community. This will help to create efficiencies in the development of enforcement tools and programmes, and foster the political will needed to strengthen implementation environmental laws, standards and regulations.

“However, government can also consider incentivising compliance with environmental protection legislation as a way to encourage industries to comply because in the real sense of it, closing down an industry would not amount to any good. When Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) the precursor of the ministry of the Environment was created, the objective was compliance and punitive,” she stated.

Speaking with THISDAY during the event, Chairman of MAN Ogun State, Mr. Wale Adegbite, who was earlier returned for another  tenure of one year, alongside other council members, noted that the theme of the paper was timely and expressed delight at the delegation from relevant government agencies.  He stated that he was optimistic that the differences between manufacturers in the state and government particularly in the area of compliance with standard environmental practice will be positively resolved.

“Over the past few months we’ve had some clashes with the Ogun State government on the issue of compliance with environmental standards and when you have issues the best way around it is to throw it open and discuss it openly and so we’re very happy today that we were able to bring in the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry and the Commissioner, the General Manager of OGEPA was here, there was also a very big delegation of about four person from the ministry of Environment, including the special adviser to the governor on environmental issues; so we hope that all the discussions that we’ve had results in positive resolutions of the differences that we have with them,” he stated.

In his remarks, Ashiru stated that the state government was committed to creating a friendly environment for business including the construction of several roads to ease transportation adding that a bill that would harmonise enforcement of standard environmental practice was in the works.