President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, urged the global community to promote and respect natural habitats for conservation of biodiversity to ensure a healthy planet.
Buhari made the call while declaring open the 33rd session of the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere (MABICC) Programme, in Abuja.
He urged all concerned global community to gear their effort towards ensuring a healthy environment, to sustain livelihoods on earth.
The President was represented by Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha.
According to him, changing our attitude, respecting the natural habitat and living in peace and harmony with nature are paramount to a future resilient generation where biodiversity is valued.
“Also, where conserved, restore and sustainably is as well used, while maintaining ecosystem services and delivering social benefits to the people.
“I am charging the participants on the importance of the work you all are doing in your respective countries and for the global community, creating vast reserves, cannot therefore, be overemphasised.
“As you work to reconcile humanity and nature, the challenge remains your ability to continually demonstrate that biodiversity conservation can foster human development with a continuous provision of ecological services.
“As you review progress and define priorities, I do hope your experience form the visit of Okwangwo Biosphere reserve in Cross River State will inform some of the final decisions to be made,’’ he said.
The President mentioned the country`s effort towards environmental conservation, adding that the current administration had put in place some of the measures to remedy the situation.
He said that the country has taken various reversal measures in compliance with some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN.
“The realisation and understanding of the significance of environmental conservation as the propelling driving force for sustainable development in the light of destructive environmental challenges and threats to the country’s ecosystem culminated in the various responsive and resilient reversal measures.
“This is in compliance with a good number of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, (UNSDGs).
“Nigeria has adopted a good number of measures to ensure that it sustainably manage its environment and these include developmental policies on the environment, solid waste management, plastic waste management, biosafety policy, gender and climate change.
“Through the operationalisation of the aforementioned policies and programmes, the following mitigation efforts are being carefully implemented; accelerated implementation of the Ogoni cleanup for restoration of polluted and degraded land.
“Effective implementation of the Great Green world Programme, promotion of set targets for tree planting and expansion, of the protected areas through the creation of 10 additional National Parks,’’ he said.
Buhari, however, thanked UNESCO for enabling Nigeria to host the global summit on the continent of Africa for the first time.
Chief Sharon Ikeazor, Minister of State for Environment, said that the MAB programme was an intergovernmental scientific programme launched in 1971 by UNESCO.
Ikeazor said that the aim of MAB programme was to establish a scientific basis for enhancing the relationship between people and their environment.
She said that Nigeria acknowledges the role of UNESCO in contributing to peace and security in the world by promoting collaboration among nations through education, science, culture and communication.
She said that the Man and Biosphere program seeks to reconcile humans and nature, adding that it was possible to use biodiversity sustainably while fostering its conservation.
Ikeazor said that the ministry would continue to play it role to safe-guard the environment for future generations.
According to her, with the support of partners like UNESCO, I believe that a resilient environment can be sustained as we strive to live in harmony with nature. (NAN)