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April 22, 2024
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Participants at the CSDevNet workshop.

Stakeholders collaborate to conserve Nigeria’s biodiversity from extinction

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By Abigael Joshua
Stakeholders in the environment sector on Wednesday, converged on Abuja in search of ways to work closely toward conserving Nigeria’s biodiversity from extinction.
Dr Agnes Yemisi Asagbra, the Director-General (D-G) of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), who was represented by Mr Zakayo Aimas Scientific Officer in NBMA, noted at a one-day workshop, that the gathering was timely at a time when global biodiversity is on the brink of collapse.
“With so many species of fauna and flora being endangered and/or going extinct in different parts of the world, leading to an imbalance in so many ecosystems with their corresponding negative effects manifesting in various climate-related phenomena such as drought, flooding, and pollution of various forms, among others.
“Biosafety and modern biotechnology are two inseparable fields that are complementary in biodiversity conservation and overall environmental conservation and sustainability.
“While biotechnology efforts are geared towards innovations to help combat global biodiversity loss (environmental sustainability), biosafety ensures that such innovations and their products thereof do not pose a threat to humans, plants, animals, and the environment as a whole,” she said.
Asagbra noted that several years ago, people could find in the nearest vicinity some species of plants and animals but today children only get to see in pictures or hear about them in stories.
“Education plays a crucial role in advancing the sustainable and equitable use of biodiversity and its conservation.
“I would like to thank and commend the organisers for coming up with this meeting geared toward educating Community Based Organisations (CBOs) and other frontline stakeholders in biodiversity conservation.
“Hence, it is crucial to incorporate biodiversity into educational and learning programmes.
“This degradation of natural resources is influenced by the lack of awareness and understanding of biodiversity,” the director-general said.
Speaking at the workshop, Dr Rashid Mbaziirav, the Executive Secretary of the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), said the erosion of indigenous and local knowledge and the associated decline in sustainable traditional land use jeopardises biodiversity and ecosystem services, as well as communities’ contributions to achieving SDG 4 which deals with inclusive and quality education.
“With biodiversity sometimes viewed as a resource for exploitation i.e. unsustainable logging, the poaching of wildlife, effective communication on biodiversity becomes a critical matter that needs attention to fulfill the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Convention on Biological Diversity.
“The conservation of biodiversity relies on global collective efforts by an educated populace, involving initiatives to enrich local and indigenous understanding of biodiversity.
“Preserving biodiversity calls for an inclusive approach that actively engages all individuals.
“Advocacy on biodiversity should strive to communicate effectively across different age groups and communities,” he said.

In an address of welcome, Mr Steve Abuh, the National Network Coordinator, CSDevNet, said it was crucial to empower and enlighten people on the critical need for community involvement in environmental protection and sustainable resource management.

“In a world where biodiversity faces unprecedented threats from human activities such as habitat loss and climate change, our collective responsibility becomes clear.
“The decline of species and ecosystems not only endangers our environment but also poses economic consequences,” he explained.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop which was organised by the Climate and Sustainable Development Network (CSDevNet), focused on Biodiversity Conservation and Awareness/Education for Community-Based Organisations. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)
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