Minister of Environment, Mrs Sharon Ikeazor, has said the livelihood of millions of Nigerians is threatened by the loss of biodiversity in the country and around the world.
She stated this in her welcome address at the opening of the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Man and Biosphere (MAB) and the International Coordinating Council (ICC), in Abuja.
She said the global crisis of climate change has impacted biodiversity and food supply to the global community, especially in the African region.
“The world is facing a planetary crisis of climate change and biodiversity loss. This global loss of biodiversity is threatening the security of the world’s food supplies and the livelihoods of millions of people including indigenous people and local communities, especially in the African region.
“The good news is that it is not too late to reverse the current trends if conservation efforts are scaled up and protected areas are expanded. Protected areas are the cornerstones of biodiversity and conservation,” she added.
In his remarks, the UN resident coordinator in Nigeria Mr Edward Kallon congratulated the country for hosting the 33rd session of the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB-ICC).
He said the gain is not just a huge achievement for Nigeria, but indeed for Africa.
He said the COVID-19 pandemic brought with it devastating consequences resulting in an unprecedented humanitarian crisis that is affecting the most vulnerable and the poorest.
Kallon stated that the pandemic compounded already existing problems like violent extremism, children staying out of school, poverty and food insecurity.
He said despite these consequences, the Covid-19 pandemic has called attention to fixing our deteriorating relationship with nature and has reaffirmed that biodiversity is fundamental for human health and critical for sustainable development.
“As we may observe, our combined attitudes and lifestyles have dramatically altered the land around us. We have cleared forests and other natural terrains to create spaces for urban areas, settlements, agriculture and industries.
In doing so, we have reduced the overall space for wildlife and degraded natural safe spaces between humans and animals,” he said.