Buhari lauds UNEP at 50, calls for broader actions to overcome environmental challenges

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the coming of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) 50 years ago created the awareness of the need to make climate and environmental action a priority for the entire world, while urging concerted action to make the organisation’s efforts a success story.

In a congratulatory message to the Special Session to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the United Nations’ body on Thursday in Nairobi, Kenya, President Buhari said:

“As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of UNEP’s existence, we laud the efforts of UNEP and encourage broader action to overcome climate change, biodiversity, rising levels of pollution and waste being three major crises threatening our planet. 

“Notably, desertification and drought are threatening lives and livelihoods which further underscores the need to boost biodiversity in ecosystem restoration. 

“We thank UNEP for its role in reducing biodiversity loss and for being a major player in the global movement to slow deforestation and accelerate aforestation.

“We recognize that restoring key ecosystems is crucial to help combat climate change and achieve sustainable development.

“Therefore, by collaborating with partners such as UNEP, we believe that much more successes would be recorded as we journey in our collective struggle against climate change.”

The Nigerian leader used the occasion to reiterate Nigeria’s commitment towards addressing the devastating effects of climate change.

“During last year’s COP26 in Glasgow, Parties worked towards spurring action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also pledging to take steps to adapting to climate impacts.

“Nations are constantly facing the threats of disrupted weather patterns, low food production and rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding among other challenges.

“In that regard, Nigeria pledged to work with other countries in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and in doing so has increased her conditional contribution to reduce greenhouse gas from 45% to 47%.

“Additionally, I outlined Nigeria’s efforts and commitments towards transitioning to Net Zero ambition which involved both environment and development-related plans.

“The plans contained a number of nature-based solutions, which included expansion of protected areas by creating ten additional National Parks, two Marine Protected Areas cutting across the various ecological zones of the country, and sustainable management of critical wetlands ecosystems across the country,” the President said.

He praised the efforts of the Ministers of the Environment who had worked tirelessly prior to the Special Session for their commitment to the cause of the environment.

“I would like to thank the Ministers of Environment and their team for their commitment and active participation during the resumed Fifth Session of the United Nations General Assembly which preceded the commemorative event.

“Similarly, I heartily congratulate the leadership of UNEP as we commemorate and celebrate your successes and achievements in the last 50 years.

“I  take this opportunity to urge redoubled collective efforts to improve and sustain climate action, nature action, chemical and pollution action, air, bio-safety, disasters and conflicts, green economy, gender, oceans and seas, resource efficiency, water, and youth education in order to save our planet and achieve the 2030 agenda on sustainable development.“

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