Environmental Mainstreaming Prerequisite To Sustainable Development —Expert

Faculty of Arts, UNILAG

An Environmental expert, Mr Victor Imevbore has identified environmental mainstreaming as a prerequisite for achieving sustainable development in the country.

Imevbore, also the Managing Director, Environmental Resources Managers Ltd Lagos, made the assertion at the maiden public lecture of the Centre for Environmental Human Resources Development (CENHURD) University of Lagos, on Tuesday in Lagos.

The theme of the lecture is: Transcending Barriers to Environmental Mainstreaming in Nigeria.

According to him, the country is in a precarious situation as is evident from the nature and scale of its environmental challenges and poor performance on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are compounded by the level of poverty and population growth.

He noted that the country may miss the SDG targets if nothing was done to check the multifaceted challenges plaguing the country.

Imenbore added that although Nigeria had enacted laws, issued regulations and standards, set agencies and signed up to numerous international treaties to protect the environment, it was ranked 139 out of 163 countries.

According to him, the 17 United Nations SDGs were a universal call to action to challenges such as ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring that by 2030, citizens enjoyed peace and prosperity.

He noted that the country’s population growth was also one of the contributing factors to the environmental issues.

He listed improved governance in general, of environmental affairs, better collaboration among key stakeholders, and improved education and awareness on environmental matters as some of the key actions required to mainstream environmental management in the country.

Imevbore who was the guest lecturer also identified education and awareness on environmental matters and data acquisition and collation, as well as an improvement on environmental justice as also critical.

“By far, the most important role of the CENHURD in environmental mainstreaming is that of a change agent, for positive behaviours by daring to be different and ensuring relevance through focused learning and skills dissemination, beyond the traditional reductionist training.

“I also encourage the centre to develop courses relevant to industry, incorporate TEK into its courses and pursue mutually beneficial collaboration with the Nigerian Environmental Society on environmental education, certification of environmental practitioners and other areas.

“As we experience the dawn of a new administration, one desire and aspiration I am sure we all have is to improve governance and justice across all facets of existence as a people, as this remains the most important building blocks for environmental mainstreaming and sustainable development in general,” he said.

He further urged the centre to strive to do things differently by embracing teaching and more importantly, practising the underpinning principles of sustainable development, specifically, treating development, conversation, ecosystem balance, culture and social interactions and governance as integrated and equally important goals.

On her part, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola said the centre was one of such research centres set up by the institution to address issues in its local community, Nigeria, Africa and globally.

According to her, the university is focused on having solutions that are homegrown that would assist not just Nigerians but the entire world.

“The centre has focused on environmental sustainability and recognizing that this is a growth area where we do not have a lot of human resources. So, they are in the business of ensuring that this is happening, repopulating that sector, with people that understand the issues.

“Again, they are saddled with research, to come up with solutions to our environmental challenges, such as pollution and renewable energy, urbanisation, which is one of such malignant challenges we are dealing with in Lagos, leading to lots of slums and degradation.

“All these things affect our health, our food and these are all things that if we can get it right, then we are good to go as a nation and as a people. Overall, I feel nine of the SDGs will be affected by this particular centre. Today’s lecture is more of an awareness lecturer and most of the people that can impact the sector will see it and contribute,” she said.

Chairman of the Board of the centre, Prof. Babajide Alo said the centre was established in 2017 following the approval of the university’s Senate.

According to him, it was conceived to meet the growing national need and demand for capacity building, as well as the production of top-level expertise to manage the plethora of contemporary environmental issues in Nigeria.

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