International Day of Biological Diversity
Biological diversity commonly referred to as biodiversity is the variety of life forms on earth which is composed of the number of species of plants, animals and microorganism, the enormous diversity of genes in these species, the different ecosystems on the planet, such as deserts, rainforests, savannas and coral reefs. Nigeria is rich in biodiversity endowed with a diverse flora and fauna. These biodiversity are being threatened by a number of factors including human development activities such as industrialization, technological advancement and rapid growth in urbanization. Other factors are poor economic policy, rising demand for forest products, weak laws and poor law enforcement policy.
The International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) is a United Nations endorsed International day for the promotion of biodiversity issues and activities. The day came into existence on December 29, 1992 during the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development with the theme “The Earth Summit”. The Conference took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The text of the Convention on Biological Diversity was adopted by the Nairobi Final Act of the Conference for the Adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity on May 22, 1992. Following the agreements reached at the conference, the Convention on Biological Diversity was created on December 29, 1993, and hence the date was designated the International Day for Biological Diversity by the United Nations general assembly. However, on December 20, 2000, the date was shifted from December 29 to May 22 of every year due to many holidays within the late December. The new and current date May 22 was chosen and adopted to commemorate the adoption of the text of the Convention on Biological Diversity which has remained so till date. Each year, the International Day for Biodiversity focuses on a particular theme which centers on matter bordering on global biodiversity. The theme for last year (2014) was “Island Biodiversity” while the theme for this year (2015) is “Biodiversity for Sustainable Development”. The Convention on Biological Diversity has three main objectives which include: the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources, and their crucial importance to sustainable development.
International Day of Biological Diversity 2015
Today, May 22, 2015, the International Day of Biological Diversity is marked with the theme “Biodiversity for Sustainable Development”. The theme is central to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The theme was adopted during the meeting of Ministers and Head of Delegations on the occasion of the twelfth meeting of the conference of the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Pyongchan, Gangwon province, Republic of Korea, on 15 and 16 October, 2014.The theme reflects the importance of efforts made at all levels to establish a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the United Nations Post-2015 Development Agenda for the period of 2015-2030 and the relevance of biodiversity for the achievement of sustainable development.
Nigeria and Convention on Biological Diversity
Nigeria is a signatory to several international treaties and conventions for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, which demonstrates her commitment to the conservation of natural resources. Consequently, the country took active part in all the negotiation processes leading to the adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity and was one of the 153 signatories to the Convention at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), commonly known as the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, 1992. Subsequently, the country ratified the convention in 1994 and thereafter, started the process of preparing her Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. In 1993, “A Country Study Report” prepared by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) documented the status of Nigeria’s biological diversity, policies, laws, and conservation programmes.
Conclusion and Recommendation
Here, in Covenant University, biodiversity and sustainable development are central to achieving the vision of becoming one of the 10 leading universities in the world, christened “Vision 10:2022- One of Ten in Ten”. Marking and celebrating the International Day of Biological Diversity will serve as valuable contribution to international discourse and promotion of Biological Diversity. The following recommendations are suggested:
- Setting up Committee on Biological Diversity in Covenant University. The committee shall be chaired by experienced Senior Staff well experienced in the field of Genetic and Molecular Systematics and general biodiversity.
- The Committee shall be committed to generate a Policy document on Strategic Plan on Biodiversity. The document will serve as implementation tool to drive sustainable biodiversity for sustainable development.
- Initiate plans for activities to celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity. Such plans may include: tree planting, collection of our fast vanishing indigenous plants, establishment of botanical and medicinal gardens, and establishment of biodiversity as well as a conservation club.
- The need to create artificial water bodies.
Campaigns against indiscriminate felling of trees in immediate communities and schools.