The government of Nigeria has lamented the steady loss of its biodiversity. But the President, Muhammadu Buhari said conscious policies have been created and supported to reverse this unsavoury trend.

The Nigerian President used the occasion of the 75th UN General Assembly to outlined measures being pushed by his government to reverse biodiversity loss, expressing concern that most indigenous flora and fauna commonly found within the country are facing extinction.

In a video-message to the virtual 2020 Biodiversity Summit, held on the margins of the 75th UN General Assembly, in New York, President Buhari noted that Nigeria, like other countries, had a wide array of rich and invaluable national heritage that include an impressive network of wetlands, wildlife and forestry resources most of which have been regrettably lost and being faced with extinction.

To reverse this situation, he said, “We have developed the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan as an enabler for integrating biodiversity considerations into sectoral and cross-sectoral policies, plans and programmes at all levels of government. We are reviewing our biodiversity-related laws and developing shelterbelts across 11 States in the country.”

In further efforts to address biodiversity loss in the country, he said, “We are implementing the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Programme in Ogoniland. The on-going clean-up is another landmark in the ecosystem restoration initiative of our administration. It is aimed at improving livelihoods of communities in the South-South Region of the country.”

The Nigerian leader told the summit convened by the President of the 75th UNGA , Ambassador Volkan Bozkir, that his administration had also approved a new National Forest Policy in July this year to ensure continuous socio-economic development.

The President explained that the new policy would provide optimal benefits to the people and government of Nigeria in a sustainably managed environment.

He added that the Nigerian government was also considering the development of a National Mangrove Restoration project to deliver qualitative livelihood benefits to the Niger Delta region.

”Furthermore, we are currently implementing a national program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, a mechanism developed by Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

”This programme is aimed at discouraging deforestation, conserving already existing forests, enhancing carbon stock and mitigating climate change impact.

”We have also facilitated the designation of Finima Nature Park in Bonny Island, Rivers State as the 12th Ramsar Site of international importance.

”The government is equally incorporating biodiversity into tourism sector through a national programme targeted at combating illegal wildlife trade and trafficking in two pilot protected area sites, namely: Gashaka-Gumti National Park; and Yankari Games Reserve,’’ President Buhari said.

According to the President, the programme to combat illegal wildlife will contribute to the growth and development of a vibrant nature-based tourism sector that prevents extinction of threatened species.

On Nigeria’s international obligations, President Buhari pledged that the country would expedite the process of accession to both the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilisation.

He also promised that Nigeria would meet its international obligations on the Nagoya-Kuala Lampur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

President Buhari also used the occasion to reiterate the call for rededicated international engagement in support of sub-regional efforts to raise the $50 billion USD required towards recharging the Lake Chad.

Expressing Nigeria’s support for the development and implementation of a Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, building on the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and lessons learnt from the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020, President Buhari called for alignment of all national, sub-regional and regional biodiversity ambitions with all Internationally-Agreed development agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

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