President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday outlined measures by Nigeria to reverse biodiversity loss, expressing concern that most indigenous flora and fauna commonly found within the country are facing extinction.
Buhari spoke in a video-message to the virtual 2020 Biodiversity Summit, held on the margins of the 75th UN General Assembly, in New York.
The President noted that Nigeria, like other countries, has a wide array of rich and invaluable national heritage that include an impressive network of wetlands, wildlife and forestry resources.
”Regrettably, most of the indigenous flora and fauna commonly found within the country are becoming endangered and facing extinction,” he said.
”To reverse this situation, 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 addressing biodiversity loss, 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,” Buhari said.
”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,” he 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.
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.