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ECOWAS to implement 30 by 30 plan on biodiversity protection

by Haruna Gimba

By Muhammad Amaan

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is set to implement a regional 30 by 30 plans aimed at securing at least 30 per cent of the planet by 2030.

Minister of State for Environment, Dr Iziaq Salako disclosed this on Tuesday in Abuja at the ECOWAS coordination meeting.

According to him, the target is to preserve life-giving ecosystems and halt immediately the human-induced extinction of wild species.

“The healthier our region’s biodiversity is, the better it will be in withstanding future climate and biodiversity shocks and the more resilient to continue to deliver for the people.”

The minister said that the ECOWAS region was the only part of the world that was looking at its contribution to halting biodiversity loss through a regional lens- a template critical for global success and to securing nature for future generations.

“It is clear that there is inequity in the ways countries are impacted by the biodiversity and climate crises.

“For us in West Africa, a lack of solutions means that our communities will become poorer, our food security jeopardised, and our rural populations forced to relocate as it is already happening in many of our countries.

“I want to trust that through your work in the coming days, ECOWAS will take the lead in ambition for biodiversity once again.

“I strongly believe that we are ready to act together to protect the lands and oceans that provide our generous ecosystem services and give rise to our utterly unique environments.”

However, Dr Salako said that it was a fact that the population of climate migrants and environmental displaced persons was rising in the region.

“Let me recommit Nigeria to continue to play her leadership role in mobilising and organising West Africa to protect our regional biodiversity, the hotspot of global biodiversity.

“We will work through the difficult technical aspects and conceive new paths forward, knowing that the eyes of the world are upon us.

“Our hard work to expand and strengthen our protected areas will serve not only as a sign of our commitment but also as a wake-up call to the rest of the world.

“Our appeal is for an ambitious and urgent global response to the biodiversity crisis and more financial support to ECOWAS collectively and individually to realise the 30 by 30 vision.”

He urged Nigerians to be ready to secure the livelihoods of indigenous peoples and local communities who were the best protectors of the world’s richest biodiversity gifted to our sub-region.

“President Bola Tinubu, who is also the Chairman of ECOWAS, is a committed environment advocate and climate hero who has prioritised sustainability as a core principle of his economic agenda,” Salako said.

Mr Bernard Koffi, Head of the Environment and Climate Change Division of the ECOWAS, said that ECOWAS member states shared diverse ecosystems of international conservation importance.

Mrs Massandje Toure-Litse, Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture of the ECOWAS Commission, who was represented by Koffi said that it is expedient to ensure that the region is protected through a collective effort by member countries.

“ECOWAS countries have played a significant role in securing the adoption of global commitment to expand protected areas to 30 per cent of the planet by 2030.

“We have a shared responsibility to act by expanding and strengthening our protected areas because degraded ecosystem threatens the physical, economic and food security both of local communities and multinational businesses,” she said.

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