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Economic recovery: Obasanjo, others seek investment in nature

By Chinedum Uwaegbulam
22 June 2020   |   4:07 am
A fresh international effort is now underway to give a major impetus to new global goal of protecting at least 30 per cent of the planet’s land and ocean by 2030.


A fresh international effort is now underway to give a major impetus to new global goal of protecting at least 30 per cent of the planet’s land and ocean by 2030.

Led by former heads of state, foreign ministers and diplomats from four continents including former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the principal aim of the Campaign for Nature’s Global Steering Committee is to call on governments worldwide to protect more of the natural world.

The Global Steering Committee led by former US Senator and former Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region of Africa, Russ Feingold further urged governments to invest in nature as a core element of economic recovery plans.

Members of the committee include, former President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn, former Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Christiana Figueres, former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, former President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, former President of Costa Rica, José María Figueres and former President of Iceland, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson.

They argued that the benefits of protected areas, often overlooked, make them worthy of stimulus support. Among their range of benefits, protected areas stave off poverty, provide key wildlife habitat, generate jobs, fight climate change and guard against future pandemics.

They are also critical to ending the mass extinction of the plants, animals and microorganisms that keep our air clean, our water pure and our food supplies plentiful.

In a joint statement marking its launch, the committee lays out the reasons why governments must funnel stimulus support to protected areas and the communities that both protect them and depend on them.

Their statement is rooted in the findings of a new report, also launched by the Campaign for Nature. “ A key sector Forgotten in the Stimulus Debate: the Nature-based Economy.”

They said: “We are living at a pivotal moment in world history, and we are motivated by the opportunity for all countries to work together, as a global community to invest in nature for the benefit of all people and societies.

“We come from regions around the world and are united by the belief that the destruction of the natural world is an urgent issue for our economies, our health, and the overall wellbeing of mankind.

“We believe that the issue of land and marine conservation is timelier than ever. The coronavirus pandemic has further underscored the need to protect more of the natural world, as studies have shown that the destruction of nature increases the risk of infectious disease outbreaks.

“We also believe that nature conservation must both be a core element of the economic rescue plans that global leaders are developing to respond to the emerging global recession, and a cornerstone of creating a resilient new economy.”