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UN seeks investment in children’s environmental education

The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Matthias Schmale, has called for adequate investment in children environmental education to sustain the fights against climate change.

Schmale said this in his address at the inauguration of the UN Climate Action Super Heroes, in commemoration of the 2022 World Environment Day on Monday, in Abuja.

The event was organised by Digibrands GreenhubAfrica Foundation, in partnership with the UN Information Centre, Lagos, to propagate environmentally sustainable practices.

According to him, UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, while in Nigeria had said that based on reports that UN had commissioned and received, there is the need for urgency to preserve the planet.

Schmale said, “Global warming is increasing at a pace that is not sustainable; there is sense of urgency, we have to protect the earth that we have.

“We do not have an alternative, we cannot all move to the moon; we have to make sure this planet remains livable, so that is the first message.

“The second message is as Guterres said, sadly, decision makers have failed so far, they have not done enough.

“I think the significance of having children here today is that, we hope that they see through the work they have done in the project we have seen.

“Children are custodians of the future, if we invest in them and bring them to the table now, we may have a better chance that we will win that race against time.”

Speaking at the event, the Chairman of GreenhubAfrica International Advisory Board, Prof. Obas Ebohon, urged the Federal Government to provide an enabling environment whereby stakeholders could participate actively in fights against climate change.

Ebohon, also a Professor of Sustainability and Environmental Law at the London South Bank University, in the UK, said that the role of government was very fundamental to global environmental sustainability.

“Government has an overarching role in laying level playing field, whereby every citizen, cooperation and businesses play according to the rules, issue that relates to climate change is huge.

“This is why we need government to implement rules and regulations that will enable us internalize our costs and benefits in use of the environment; the role of the government is fundamental.

“Government alone cannot handle itself and therefore, the whole concept of agenda 21, which brings everybody and governments with the responsibility to participate in global environmental sustainability.”

He further said that the concept of environmental sustainability has become important to ensure inter-generational equity and accessibility when dealing with the situation.

In the same vein, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, underscored the need to save the natural environment for the young and future generation.

Adamu was represented by Ms Uche Onwuama, Assistant Director in charge of Multilateral in the Department of Education Support Services of the ministry.

According to him, ”there is the need for collective consciousness in the daily actions to protect the available resources that God has provided for all.

“As you know, education is critical agent in addressing climate change; education can encourage people to change their attitudes and behaviour, as well as help them to make informed decisions.

“The international community is aware of the importance of addressing climate change through education, hence, call on government to educate, empower and engage stakeholders on policies and actions relating to climate change.

“Such as policies under the UN Framework Convention on climate change, the Paris Agreement and associated Action for climate Empowerment (ACE) agenda.”

He reiterated that the ministry would continue to work closely with all relevant environment stakeholders in the response to the UN call to ensure safety of the earth.

On his part, Sen. Gershom Bassey, Senator representing Cross Rivers South Senatorial District, assured that the 9th National Assembly would do all within its ambit to prioritise Bills that concern environment.

“One of the first things we have done is on the Petroleum Industry Act, which the 9th Assembly passed into Law after 20 years of delay in the National Assembly.

“We passed the Bill and the President signed it into law; the key element of that Bill is issue of environmental degradation as it concerns oil and gas exploration and production.

“We are very glad we were able to tackle that issue, you can be assured that all other issues in similar areas will be tackled with seriousness,” Bassey said.

Meanwhile, Mr Henry Bassey, CEO or GreenhubAfrica Foundation, said catching children at their early stages of life has become critical to ensure the survival of the planet down the line.

He said: “What we have done is to conceptualize that asset for Nigeria and for the rest of Africa; there are eight superheroes that address critical issues of climate change in Nigeria and Africa.

“From biodiversity to rising sea water and to the fume; so each superhero addresses different issues we are experiencing this in Nigeria today.

“The beauty about launching the climate change superhero is that we actually engage children in educational ways, through our outreach and they take decision that helps them to protect the environment.”

The 2022 edition of the World Environment Day, with the theme: “Only one earth,” was celebrated on June 5.

The day is marked annually for the 50th year since the first UN Conference in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1972. (NAN)