By: Mayowa Adeniran & Seye Joseph
“If a nation’s environmental foundations are depleted, its economy may decline, its social fabric may deteriorate, and its political structure may even be affected” The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibril made this assertion at a two day stakeholders’ validation workshop on the National Policy on Environment held at Abuja on October 20-21, 2016.
The minister mentioned that development will not be meaningful if it increases the vulnerability to environmental impacts which can become a significant source of economic loss and stress.
According to Jibril, “government recognizes that if some of these challenges are not addressed within a coherent framework, it will not be positioned for the sustainability of the environment”
He described the review as what is pertinent and important as many issues around climate change have become major challenges affecting everybody at global, regional and national level.
Parts of the issues he cited to follow are the path of sustainable development which include the remediation of environmental pollution, such as the Ogoniland cleanup, revitalization of the Lake Chad water resources to bring the Basin back to life for human survival and conflict reduction.
Others include controlling soil erosion in the southeastern parts of the country through the implementation of new map, and development of renewable energy including recent Jatropha initiative.
He wants all stakeholders to work together in partnerships to tackle these challenges.
“All hands must therefore be on deck to promote the mainstreaming of on environmental sustainability in our national socio-economic development process”
“As we thrive to validate the draft policy, we must ensure that all existing sub-sectoral policies are subsumed into the new National Environmental Policy which will allow environmental sector to be driven by a single policy that will make the subsectors develop their strategies from new policy”, he said.
In his goodwill message, the United Nations Developmental Program Country Director, Pa Lamin Beyai described the National Policy on Environment as a guide to action to regulatory reform, programmes, and projects for environmental conservation, reviews and enactment of legislation, at the Federal, State, and Local Government levels.
Beyai said that we live in a complex environment which is a life supporting system for human survival. While a properly managed environment can be geared towards productive requirements, a poorly managed one could easily threaten human survival.
He mentioned population growth, inappropriate technology and consumption choices, lack of clarity or enforcement of rights of access, use of environmental resources and poverty as what caused environmental degradation This policy becomes handy in filling that gap.
“The newly launched SDGs neatly fuse human development and sustainable development. As we go through the validation meeting today, let us pay particular attention to the various sections of the policy that would enable us achieve our desired goals. I have no doubt that, together we can promote and build a sustainable and healthy environment for our existence.”
During the workshop, there were section by section review of the 57-page draft document by participants that were drawn from academia, environmental stakeholders, CSOs/NGOs, government officials and the media to make input for the finalization of the draft policy.
Key review sections includes; Conservation and Management of national resources, Waste and Pollution, Emerging issues, Cross-Sectoral issues and policy implementation.
Photo caption : ( in the middle – The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibril )