Expert Canvasses Greater Awareness on Climate Change, Biodiversity for Sustainable Development
The Honourable Commissioner for Agriculture, Ogun State, Dr. Adeola Odedina, has warned that the cost of inaction in addressing the damage already done to the ecosystem, could negate the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) initiative.
Dr. Odedina, Keynote Speaker at the 2nd Climate Change Convention and Biodiversity Conservation Workshop, held on Thursday, February 11, 2021, at Covenant University, said climate change was projected to cost between 6 to 30% of Nigeria's GDP by 2050. He said the implication could be the loss of between $100 to $400 billion, with climate change becoming an existential threat to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He said it was time to leverage what Nigeria had as a nation to accelerate the realization of SDG 13 on climate action and biodiversity conservation. The country must strategically apply climate action solutions of clean energy and Ecosystem-Based Adaptation (EBA) to climate-proof and maximize the food systems' productivity that offered the shortest route to actualizing multiple SDGs simultaneously, the Keynote Speaker suggested.
"Leveraging local human resources, skills, talents, and technical knowhow to develop enterprises EBA using clean energy will help fast-track the speedy realization of multiple SDGs. Studies have shown that using EBA approaches like agro-forestry, mulching, and organic fertilizer to grow food, not only enhance the food resources base, but they increase yield by up to 128% under the changing climate," he added.
The Ogun State Commissioner for Agriculture noted that decentralising clean energy solutions to reverse post-harvest losses that cost the continent up to $48 billion annually could create 17 million jobs along the entire value chain.
In his welcome remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Abiodun H. Adebayo, represented by the Director, Vice-Chancellor’s Office, Dr. Omotayo Osibanjo, said it was a common knowledge that the world was faced with challenges associated with astronomical population growth, increasing urbanization, environmental degradation, and climate change. He also noted that fundamental ecological factors, such as temperature, rain patterns, water availability, and sea levels, were changing. He added that those developments significantly affected sustainable agricultural productivity, health care, and wellbeing.
Professor Adebayo stated that the challenges ahead demanded migration towards agricultural systems that would produce more food of adequate nutritional value, and preserve as well as enhance ecosystem services and biodiversity.
The Vice-Chancellor believed that the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and the equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources underpinned sustainable development and human wellbeing. However, scientific evidence showed that climate change would likely challenge the realization of sustainable development, including the Sustainable Development Goals.
Professor Adebayo expressed that Covenant was, institutionally pleased to organise the workshop under the Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE Ogun), as part of the University's contribution toward efforts directed at providing awareness on the negative impact of human activities on biodiversity. "We will always converse with stakeholders to proffer workable solutions to facilitate biodiversity conservation in Ogun State towards the attainment of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 13, 14 and 15," he promised.
The Chair, Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE Ogun), Dr. Patience Tunji-Olayeni, in her opening remark, said biodiversity was a major part of the earth's system, and it played a vital role in balancing the functions of the earth's system.
Dr. Tunji-Olayeni stated that due to unsustainable human activities, biodiversity disruptions had been identified as a major trigger of climate change. She said the disruptions informed the insistence on climate change and biodiversity, hoping that participants at the convention would return to their base as ambassadors with a mission to protect biodiversity, thereby mitigating climate change.
The 2021 climate change convention theme was ‘Climate Change and Biodiversity Conservation for Sustainable Development in Ogun State.’ The event attracted discussants from academia, research agencies, and government parastatals. Cash prizes and certificates of participation were awarded to the top three schools that participated in the EMA Smart Kids competition and the Climate Change Ambassadors Challenge.
In the EMA Smart Kids speech contest, Abiboss Progressive High School emerged overall winner, with Kingdom Joy International School and Wisdomland Model College clinching the second and third position respectively out of the 15 secondary schools that participated. While in the climate change challenge competition, Fountain Comprehensive Secondary School came tops, with Kingdom Joy International School and Bells Secondary School emerging first and second runners up respectively, out of the 6 schools that exhibited their climate change initiative.
Participants at the 2nd Climate Change Convention and Biodiversity Conservation Workshop