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UNESCO approves three additional biosphere reserves for Nigeria

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has approved three additional biosphere reserves in Nigeria.

Biosphere Reserve
Hadejia-Nguru-Bade Biosphere Reserve within Yobe and Jigawa states, one of the three approved reserves

Dr Moma Enang, National Professional Officer, Natural Science Sector, UNESCO Regional Office, Abuja on Friday, October 30, 2020.

Enang named the reserves as Oban Biosphere Reserve and Okwango Biosphere Reserve, both in Cross River State, and the Hadejia-Nguru-Bade Biosphere Reserve cutting across Yobe and Jigawa states.

She said that the approval was granted through the Man and the Biosphere Programme International Coordinatiing Council (MAB-ICC) of the organisation.

Enang expressed delight over the development, saying that the additional reserves would foster efforts to ensure biodiversity in the country.

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She said that MAB-ICC was saddled with the responsibility of deciding and approving new biosphere reserves as well as making recommendations on periodic review reports of biosphere reserves in UNESCO member states.

“The UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office in Abuja, within its regular science workplan, facilitated the nomination and proposed two biosphere reserves, namely Oban Biosphere Reserve and Okwango Biosphere Reserve, both in Cross River.

“In another vein and within the framework of Biosphere and Heritage of Lake Chad (BIOPALT) project implemented in five countries of Lake Chad Basin, UNESCO again facilitated the nomination of Hadejia-Nguru-Bade Biosphere Reserve in Yobe and Jigawa.

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“The nomination for the three proposed Biosphere Reserves were submitted by the Nigerian Man and Biosphere (MAB) Committee domiciled in the Forestry Institute of Nigeria.

“During the 32nd session of MAB-ICC from Oct. 27 to Oct.28, the three Biosphere Reserves were approved for Nigeria,” she said.

Enang added that the organisation was committed to the conservation of biodiversity for sustainable use as well as conflict prevention.

MAB-ICC is the governing body of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme which comprises of 34 member states elected by the organisation’s biennial General conference.

MAB Programme is an intergovernmental scientific programme, launched in 1971 to establish a scientific basis for the improvement of relationships between people and their environments.

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Nigeria initially had only one biosphere reserve, the Omo Biospere Reserve in Ogun State, which was established in 1977.

By Ijeoma Olorunfemi

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