The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and environmentalists say the growing human activities, which degrade and destroy ecosystems have increased the urgency to act, to restore living in harmony with nature.
The CBN and environmental rights activists under the platform of the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), said this as they joined the global community to commemorate the 2021 United Nations World Environment Day
The theme for this year’s celebration scheduled for June 5 is ‘Ecosystem Restoration.’
In Abuja, CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele warned against actions that are harmful to the environment, stressing the need for Nigerians to protect the ecosystem.
He said henceforth banks would consider sustainable banking principles when lending money to individuals and corporate entities.
Emefiele said the Nigerian banking sector was committed to protecting the environment by making sure the principles of sustainable banking were upheldhen banks consider those to offer credits.
Citing examples of institutions that refuse to grant credit to customers whose activities pollute the environment, the Governor enjoined Nigerians to strive to make the environment green by restoring the ecosystem and avoiding pollutants that destroy the earth.
“There is need for the environment to go green. We must join the global community to ensure that we clean the environment and rid the ecosystem of pollutants that are harmful to us,” he added.
For the environmentalists, since industrial revolution and the advent of neoliberal economic ideology that prioritizes profit over sustainability, ecosystems are being degraded at astronomical rates across the world.
“Ecosystems across the world.
The Programmes Director and Administration, ERA/FoEN, Mike Karikpo, said in Port Harcourt, the ecosystems are dynamic communities of plants, animals and microorganisms interacting with the physical environment, landscapes, lakes, and oceans support life on earth.
Considering the multiple crises we face, such as climate crisis, corona virus pandemic, financial and economic crisis, time is of the essence. We need to act now to save our planet and save lives as we know it”, ERA/FoE coalition said in a statement during the ERA/FoEN event to mark the World Environment Day.
The United Nations, the vrlup said, has set aside 2021-2030 as the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, considering that degraded and destroyed ecosystems already cost the global economy 10 percent of its annual output.
Without concerted global actions to preserve, restore and enhance the viability of our ecosystems, the group said the world’s capacity to make progress in critical areas, such as education, health and employment, would be greatly compromised.
Between 2021 and 2030, the group said, “the restoration of 350 million hectares of degraded terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems could generate $9 trillion in ecosystem services. “Restoration could also remove 13 to 26 gigatons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
“The economic benefits of such interventions exceed nine times the cost of investment, whereas inaction is at least three times more costly than ecosystem restoration.”
, Executive Director, ERA/FoE Nigeria, Godwin Ojo said, “Restoring the ecosystem will enhance biodiversity, clean polluted rivers and contaminated soil and improve local livelihoods of our people.
“Ecosystem restoration will enhance capacity of our soils and forests to store greenhouse gases, rather than the false solutions of carbon capture and storage facilities that do not cut emissions at source and poses grave danger to ecosystems.
“The crucial challenge requires a post-petroleum economy through deep transformation in global production and consumption patterns.
“Therefore, ecosystem restoration requires concerted actions at local, national and international levels focusing on a pragmatic shift towards a sustainable decarbonized development pathway before it is too late.”
The Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services grlup said millions of species were threatened with extinction due to harmful human activities.
About 75 per cent of global land, the group said, has been severely altered in the last five decades; 66 percent of ocean area is experiencing cumulative impacts; and more than 85 percent of wetlands lost.
A member, Bodo Council of Chiefs, Rivers State and Chairman, Board of Trustees, ERA/FoE Nigeria, Saint Emma Pii, said “our surest way of escaping the looming danger is to live in harmony with nature.
“Our survival as species, the survival of other organisms and the future of our planet can be restored if communities are allowed to manage their resources and involved in environmental protection and conservation.”
He said the clean-up of the polluted Ogoniland would hopefully restore the degraded ecosystems.
The group urged the Nigerian state, (local, state, and national) to put in place clear policies and regulations for the sustainability of our ecosystems in line with the United Nations policies on ecosystem restoration by setting achievable targets for implementation.
ERA/FoEN further calls for the urgent restoration of the polluted Ogoniland ecosystems and the entire Niger Delta region ecosystem within the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030.
Besides,Ecosystem restoration work should focus on addressing the actual sources of environmental degradation, so that the removal mechanism does not become business as usual in the continuation of carbon emissions released into the atmosphere.
It also called on the government to end of gas flaring todat to restore Niger Delta ecosystems; commit to energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources to reduce the rate of environmental degradation and ecosystem disturbance; put in place proper land governance legislation that would enhance proper land use and planning.
“This will require radical reform or wholesale abrogation of the current Land Use Act which has led to dispossession and caused untold hardship to our communities; put in place rules that addresses land grabbing, solid waste management and grant easy access to justice for people and communities impacted by the harmful actions of corporations.
“The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration will be a mirage unless concerted and genuine effort is made to provide finance and set targets to reduce the rate of deforestation and ecosystems disturbance by the number and scope of ecosystems restored, improved biodiversity, and ecosystem resilience for the health of Mother Earth and wellbeing of people,” the group said
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