Nigeria Calls for Immediate Action to Preserve Ecosystem, Halt Extinction of Wild Life in West Africa

By Michael Olugbode in Abuja

Nigerian government has called for immediate action to preserve life-giving ecosystems and to halt the human-induced extinction of wild species in West Africa subregion.

The Minister of State for Environment, Dr Iziaq Salako said there was the urgent need to change the biodiversity narrative of West Africa to arrest the dangerous treat of rising population of climate migrants and environmental displaced persons in the subregion.

Speaking at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) coordination meeting in Abuja, Salako said: “It is clear that there is inequity in the ways countries are impacted by the biodiversity and climate crises. For us In West Africa, a lack of solutions means that our communities will become poorer, our food security jeopardized, and our rural populations forced to relocate as its already happening in many of our countries. It is a fact that the population of climate migrants and environmental displaced people is rising in our subregion.”

He told the stakeholders present at the meeting that they had an important mandate to produce a regional 30 by 30 implementation plan which seeks to secure the effective protection of at least 30% of the ECOWAS region to preserve our life-giving ecosystems and to halt immediately the human-induced extinction of wild species.

He noted that: “ECOWAS region is the only part of the world that is looking at its contribution to halting biodiversity loss through a regional lens, a template critical for global success and to securing nature for future generations. The healthier our region’s biodiversity is, the better it will be in withstanding future climate and biodiversity shocks and the more reslient to continue to deliver for the people.”

“I want to trust that through your work in the coming days, ECOWAS will take the lead in ambition for biodiversity once again. We will work through the difficult technical aspects and conceive new paths forward, knowing that the eyes of the world are upon us. Our hard work to expand and strengthen our protected areas will serve not only as a sign of our commitment but also as a wake-up call to the rest of the world. If we can do this work here where we lack the resources of the Global North, what will be the excuse for foot dragging by any region?”

He noted that: “When we support one another, we all do better. Over half of global GDP relies on rich biodiversity and healthy ecosystems. Our investment in biodiversity conservation and the 30by30 agenda, is a long term investment in our economies and the future our different countries and indeed the world which will definitely yield return in multiple folds. We should be ready to secure the livelihoods of indigenous peoples and local communities who are the best protectors of the world’s richest biodiversity gifted to our sub-region. I strongly believe that we are ready to act together to protect the lands and oceans that provide our generous ecosystem services and give rise to our utterly unique environments.”

He urged Nigerians to be ready to secure the livelihoods of indigenous peoples and local communities who are the best protectors of the world’s richest biodiversity gifted to our sub-region.

He however assured that: “The President of my country President Bola Tinubu who is also the Chairman of ECOWAS is a committed environment advocate and climate hero who has prioritised sustainability as a core principle of his economic agenda.”

Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture of the ECOWAS Commission, Mrs Massandje Toure-Litse who was represented by the Head of the Environment and Climate Change Division of the ECOWAS, Mr Bernard Koffi said that it is expedient to ensure that the region is protected through a collective effort by member countries.

“ECOWAS countries have played a significant role in securing the adoption of global commitment to expand protected areas to 30 per cent of the planet by 2030.

“We have a shared responsibility to act by expanding and strengthening our protected areas because degraded ecosystem threatens the physical, economic and food security both of local communities and multinational businesses.”

Related Articles