Experts urge mainstreaming of environmental concerns in policies
The immediate past president, Nigerian Environmental Society (NES), Mr. Victor Imevbore, has emphasised the need for inclusion of relevant environmental concerns into the decisions of institutions that drive national, local and sectoral development policy, rules, plans, investment and action in the country.
He explained that environment is becoming recognised as a key component in policies for security, stability and sustainability in Nigeria and the world as the earth is presently under threat by human actions and other alterations.
Imevbore spoke at a forum entitled: ‘Transcending barriers to environmental mainstreaming in Nigeria’, organised by the Centre for Environmental Human Resources Development (CENHURD), University of Lagos.
He lamented that Nigeria is in a precarious situation as deforestation, excessive fishing, coastal erosion, poor management of solid wastes and others are ravaging the land. The guest speaker said Nigeria’s performance across the different Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is not good as the country ranks 139 out of 163 countries despite “enacting laws, issuing regulations and standards, setting up agencies and sign up to various international treaties for the protection of the environment
Imevbore, who doubles as a member of the board of CENHURD listed barriers to environmental mainstreaming to include externality, lack of and poor communication among stakeholders, poor environmental awareness and lack of data, poor remuneration of environmental practitioners, poor governance and weak institutions, as well as weak environmental justice.
According to him, there is a need for improved governance in the country and pursuit of environmental justice as important factors for Nigeria to overcome major barriers to environmental mainstreaming.
Imevbore also said the government should reward and incentivise sustainability through tax reliefs and grants, while individuals and organisations should be recognised for their contributions to sustainability. He said there should be rewards for brilliant essays by students on sustainability and giving of scholarships should be encouraged.
He charged the public sector, private and environmental organisations to collaborate for a common goal rather than competing for relevance and superiority. To him, there should be improved data collection and distribution, application of global standards, local knowledge and mainstream environmental awareness and education.
Imevbore advised CENHURD to utilise the centre as a change agent for sustainable development, continue to ensure collaborative development and delivery of curricula for undergraduates, support the corporate world and civil servants by offering courses and training programmes on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) matters, as well as support internships in sustainability.
He further urged CENHURD to establish a reliable data resource centre for bio-physical and social data from research works and environmental studies and track its graduates, especially those who are qualified environmental practitioners and professionals who support sustainable development.
In his remarks, the Chairman, CENHURD board, Prof. BabajideAlo, reiterated that the centre set up to meet the growing national need and demand for capacity building and production of top-level expertise to deal with the myriad of environmental issues in Nigeria, is committed to fulfillment of the mandate.
The forum attracted the Vice-Chancellor of UNILAG, Prof. FolasadeOgunsola, Chairman, Osunkeye& Associates, Chief Olusegun Osunkeye, Director, Research Management Office, University of Lagos, Prof. Timothy Nubi and the Deputy Vice Chancellor, (Management Services)/CENHURD Team Lead, Prof. Lucian Chukwu.
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