Environment Ministry holds 10th National Council on Environment

• Urges Agriculture, Health Ministries to relocate departments to Environment

The National Council on Environment (NCE) has urged states to relocate Forestry Department and other related environmental departments in the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Health Officers in Health Ministry to states’ Ministry of Environment.

This directive formed one of the several decisions arrived at, at the week-long 10th National Council on Environment (NCE10) meeting held last week in Lafia, Nasarawa State. The event had the theme ‘Environment and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) In Nigeria: Empowering People, Taking Climate Action and Protecting the Environment.’

Chaired by the Minister of Environment, Amina J. Mohammed, the Council deliberated extensively on the need to increase awareness on the issues of climate change; problems of land degradation and deforestation and the need for sustainable management solutions to address these issues; menace of poor solid waste management and sanitation as well as other environmental pollution issues including oil spill.

In her keynote address, the minister said “Nigeria’s inability in the past to firmly put into action a plan for people, planet and prosperity at the core of our development agenda has led to environmental degradation, ecological disasters, a depletion of our natural resources and deprivation leading to increasing insecurity and conflicts.

“The importance of the environment, to the current administration is reflected as one of the six core pillars of the government’s agenda. The ministry is set to contribute to this agenda with its new vision of empowering people, taking climate action and protecting the environment.”

According to her, the ministry considers 2016 a year of transition meant to lay foundation for sustainable development in spite of lean resources and completing demands.

Apparently in line with the nation’s climate initiatives, the NCE10 approved programmes and projects that will help in the mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change such as adoption and implementation of the renewable energy master plan, promoting renewable energy programme in schools; as well as upgrading and repositioning climate change units in MDAs, and engaging the private sector in renewable energy programmes through public-private partnership (PPP) arrangements.

Similarly, approval was given to forestry development and afforestation programmes such as enrichment planting in forest reserves nationwide, promoting the use of alternative source of energy, suspension of further exportation of Pterocapus trees in Taraba State in the interim, along with initiation and implementation of bamboo and rattan value chain development in the states.

The Council also directed the 11 participating frontline states involved in the National Great Green Wall (NAGGW) initiative to strongly support the programme by providing adequate annual budgetary allocation, provision of land, enhancing community sensitisation and mobilisation, as well as technical support. States were likewise encouraged to fully participate in the implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility Programme (EPR) nationwide.

Also at the event were the Executive Governor of Nasarawa State, Umaru Tanko Al-makura; Deputy Governor, Nasarawa State, Silas Ali Agara and Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibril,  among others.