Lagos boosts UN efforts at conservation with agency for parks

Posted: September 14, 2012 in travel & tourism

Lagos State Government, Wednesday, officially announced the establishment of the State Parks and Gardens Agency over a year after a meeting of West African mayors in the state decided to align with and support the United Nations’ efforts at stemming global warming and environmental degradation, was reached.

Public Relations Officer in the Ministry of Environment, Mr Mukaila Sanusi, said in a statement in Lagos that the agency was created as part of efforts to create a sustainable structure for the state’s beautification and landscaping projects.

He stated that the agency would be responsible for managing designated parks and gardens across the state.

“The new agency will implement the general directives and policies of the state government on development, maintenance and management of parks as well as recreation centres. It is to also implement policies on gardens and play grounds in the state,’’ the statement read in part.

Commenting, Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello, explained that the establishment of the agency was the outcome of a bill initiated by Gov. Babatunde Fashola, just as he further recalled that the bill was approved and passed as the Lagos State Park and Gardens Law No 13, of 2011 by the House of Assembly.

The decision to establish an agency for protection and preservation of parks and gardens in the state could also be linked to last year’s resolution reached at a meeting of West African mayors hosted by the Lagos State governor during which a declaration on strategies to help mitigate the adverse effects of global warming in African countries in accordance with recent United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and other United Nations agencies’ campaigns, was signed.

That mayors’ declaration was signed at a Special Congress on Climate Change, organized by the Lagos State Ministry of the Environment and had in attendance mayors from Malabo, (Equatorial Guinea), Cotonou (Benin Republic), Dakar (Senegal) and Lagos.

The theme of the congress is “Building Climate Change Resilient African Cities.”

Speaking at the congress, Gov. Babatunde Fashola said that the declaration by the cities was aimed at providing a common solution to the problem as it affected the continent, further noting that the problem of climate change had threatened the lives of Africans in all aspects, saying that Africa and the rest of the world must double their efforts in confronting the threats posed by the problem.

“From New York to Mumbai, Lagos to Mississippi, Ibadan to Pakistan, Japan to Australia, thousands of human lives and billions of dollars worth of property have perished with it, including farmlands which provided our major source of sustenance.

“All of these have happened in peace time, without war. This is the reality that we face; an enemy whose army is not known. A force created by our own actions or inactions that is taking human lives almost at will through extreme weather conditions such as droughts, flood, severe winter, tsunamis, hurricanes and earthquakes and typhoons,” he added.

The governor urged more collaboration among African countries to effectively fight the menace, adding that more communal actions should be taken on the problem.

He said that Nigeria needed to take proactive steps to confront the problem in view of its huge population, saying the country stood greater risk of humanitarian loss in the event of disasters.

Speaking at the congress, the Minister of the Environment, Hajiya Hadiza Mailafa, urged African countries to take decisive actions on confronting climate change.

Represented by Mr. Adejare Adejuwon, Director, Climate Change Unit, Federal Ministry of Environment, the minister said that Africa was more vulnerable to the effects of the problem because of its geographical and economic peculiarities.

She also urged industrialised nations that contributed significantly to the problem of global warming to take responsibility and help African countries in confronting the effects of the problem.

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