World Environment Day: protect biodiversity to prevent future pandemic diseases -Minister

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Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar.

The Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar has said in order to prevent future pandemic diseases Nigeria must Restore, Conserve and Protect Biodiversity.

He made this known while addressing journalists in Abuja to kick start the activities of the 2020 World Environment Day (WED) in Nigeria.

WED was established in 1972 but first held in 1974, this day has become a vital platform for promoting environmental issues and concern, biodiversity, climate change, Ecosystem and even more, significantly a barometer of measuring progress on environmental diversion of Sustainable Development Goals with United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) plotting it.

This years WED will be hosted by Colombia in partnership with Germany with the Theme: Biodiversity Time for Nature, with a focus on its role in providing the essential infrastructure that supports life on earth and human development.

Dr. Abubakar said, “over one million plant and animal species risk extinction largely due to human activities, this is a call to action to combat the accelerating species loss and degradation of Nature.

“Unfortunately for all Nations of the world, this year’s celebration is being held amidst the ravaging effects of the Covid 19 pandemics.

“While we continue to battle the crisis, as an environmentalist we must continue to contribute our quota in the collective efforts being made to contain the spread of the pandemic,” he said.

According to UNEP, 2020 is a year of urgency,ambition and action to address the crisis facing Nature. It is also an opportunity to move fully incorporate nature based solutions into global climate action, especially as commemorating the day has become a powerful platform to accelerate , amplify and engage people, communities and government around the world to take action on critical environmental challenges facing the planet.

“Biodiversity is the foundation for life and they are myriads of benefits amongst which are livelihood and Sustainable Development, improvement and delivery of food security,growth, increase in job opportunity, strengthening of global health care support system,” the Minister said.

He said, “our Climate , physical environment and vegetation zones in Nigeria endow our country with a very diverse ecosystem, species of fauna and flora .The forest in Nigeria is currently estimated to extend to around 9.6 million hectares.

“As part of President Buhari directives to plant 25millions trees, the Minister of Environment will be in Kaduna today to handle over 1million seedlings to the Kaduna State government and if properly utilized it will mitigate the effects of biodiversity, climate change and improve on our natural habitats,” he said.

Earlier, in the opening remarks, the minister of state for Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor, said this years WED is a call to action for individuals and stakeholders to consider how to change their everyday lives by taking the issues of biodiversity more seriously to mitigate global warming and be more interested in conservation of Nature.

She further said, it is also a call for people to do something positive for the environment, galvanizing individual actions into a collective power that generate an exponential impact on the planet.

As a nation, Chief Sharon said, we are now more than ever making efforts in the implementation of our SDG’s especially SDG13,14 and 15.

In addition to this great diversity, our ecosystem, house, some endemic species that we have to conserve our national flower,” Costus Spectabilis and the Black Crowned Crane.

The Minister, Dr. Abubakar however, said social distancing and hygiene will remain for life.

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