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Sunday, December 3, 2023

UNGA: Nigeria playing rallying role in addressing biodiversity crisis – Tinubu

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Nigeria, speaking at high level event for “Nature and people: From ambition to action” that held in the margin of the 78th Session of United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, September 19, 2023, revealed that the nation is playing a rallying role in the response to the biodiversity crisis. Environment Minister of State, Dr Iziaq Kunle Salako, made the presentation on Mr. President’s behalf. Excerpts:

Bola Tinubu
President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria at UNGA 2023

I am very pleased that this event intends to channel global attention towards transformation of the global biodiversity ambition to action. Today we are facing a planetary emergency and our response needs to be commensurate with the scale and urgency of this emergency.

As a responsible State Party to several Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), including the Convention on Biological Diversity, Nigeria is doing its utmost to promote transformation actions that are commensurate with the scale of the biodiversity crisis. We are exerting these efforts within our own country in addition to supporting countries in our Sub-region to increase their capacity in this regard.

This is evident in the massive representation of the ECOWAS countries within the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, the Global Ocean Alliance, and the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature. Our sub-region has launched The ECOWAS appeal for an ambitious global response to the biodiversity crisis to call on the rest of the world to go even further than what these Coalitions are seeking, and to be bolder in its response.

This brings me to three very important conclusions.

First, there is inequity in the ways countries are impacted by the biodiversity crisis. In ECOWAS countries, a lack of solutions means that our communities become poorer, our food security is jeopardised, and our rural populations are forced to relocate.

Second, there is inequity in the burden placed on countries to implement global commitments. Biodiversity-rich countries like those of ECOWAS incur more costs and more scrutiny for implementing strong biodiversity commitments.

And third, there is inequity in the level of global ambition shown to address the crisis.

The vision of Nigeria and the rest of Africa is to ensure that the World truly unites and responds as one. Each Coalition brings hope in reaching this goal, but we need to go further together.

I am proud to announce today that with Nigeria playing a rallying role, Africa nations have reached a consensus to support ratifying at the earliest feasible date, the new international ocean treaty for the high seas. For Nigeria this is an essential and urgent step, and we invite all of you to ratify this treaty promptly.

I am also proud to announce that ECOWAS countries are seeking to launch a regional coordination process for the designation of new protected areas and have, through the ECOWAS Appeal, committed to act together to ensure that direct exploitation is no longer a driver of global biodiversity loss. This is essential, and we invite all countries present today to collectively commit to higher ambition to prevent unsustainable exploitation and species loss.

Finally, achieving the world’s ambitious conservation targets, like 30×30, will require that we all do more to prioritise nature finance. Last year, at the United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15), the world agreed to fully close the nature finance gap and set a near term target of delivering at least $20 billion in international finance to the Global South by 2025.

Last month in Addis, African countries came together and issued a declaration that underscored the importance of these nature finance targets. Nigeria would like to urge all countries to increase their efforts on this issue and to work with us to ensure that the world follow through on these crucial finance commitments.

This is our vision for the future, and we invite everyone to act and envision solutions that will preserve nature for future generations.

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