By Joseph Erunke & Alice Ekpang
ABUJA– MINISTER of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, Friday, urged stakeholders to tackle pertinent issues of climate smart agriculture and agro ecological practices that will aid rejuvenation of soils to transform the food system.
Abubakar,in a keynote address he delivered at the meeting of the 14th National Council on Environment,NCE,in Abuja, said there was “an urgent need to transform our food system which has been the major factor in the issue of loss of biodiversity, fresh water and deforestation with its attendant effects on climate change.”
He said:“As you are aware, we are almost at a crossroads in our national developmental trajectory, owing to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and its unimaginable attendant effects on all spheres of human endeavours and activities of which the environment sector is no exception.”
Noting that:”It is obvious that the mechanical approach to reversing trending environmental challenges is limited in its ability to deliver”,he said:” It is in view of this that a new narrative tagged “Nature-Based Solutions to Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience” emerged.”
“There is an urgent need to transform our food system which has been the major factor in the issue of loss of biodiversity, fresh water and deforestation with its attendant effects on climate change. It is therefore expected that pertinent issues of climate smart agriculture and agro ecological practices that will aid rejuvenation of soils and forest covers, among others, would be discussed during this meeting,”he charged.
Noting also that,” Environment is prominent amongst the Sectors most affected by the Covid-19 outbreak in terms of dwindling resources for financing ambitious programmes and projects in the sector”,he said the challenge “has further amplified the sector’s concern with respect to rapid loss of biodiversity, desert encroachment, deforestation, flooding, erosion, pollution and other issues which, if not urgently checked, could put the citizenry in further jeopardy.”
“Distinguished Council members and esteemed stakeholders, it is on the basis of the above that our theme for this virtual conference “Managing Emerging Environmental Challenges: Need for Strategic Approach to Sustainable Development in Covid-19 Era and Beyond” was carefully chosen to reflect the reality of the dreaded Covid-19, its consequences,and the compelling need to devise feasible strategy to manage and sustain our socio-economic and environmental recovery efforts, as witnessed by the commendable recovery of the economy from recession recently.”
He said, “The 2021 Global Risk Report recently published by the Economic Forum, affirmed that issues that border on the environment, such as climate change and loss of biodiversity are among the top long term risks the world would likely face in the next 10 years.”
” This report is expected to serve as a clarion call to innovatively take a transformative action that is commensurate with the magnitude and complexities of this emerging situation in the world, especially as it relates to the ecosystem”,he urged.
Speaking also, Minister of State, Ministry of Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor, recalled that environment provides the life support system for human existence and survival by supplying our needs for air, water, food, place of abode, raw materials in fact our very existence relies on nature.
“Nature is life, But the interplay of unsustainable human activities and natural phenomena constantly lead to changes in environmental constituents and capabilities, which often than not, precipitate challenges with complex and multi-dimensional effects,”she said
She said:“The ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the interrelationship between the environment and human health, as well as the need to strengthen essential environmental health services, knowledge and national capacities, all of which are fundamental to achieving universal health coverage.”
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