Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Global Sustainable Development Agenda: An Implication for Conservation Challenges in Cross River State, Nigeria

Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Global Sustainable Development Agenda: An Implication for Conservation Challenges in Cross River State, Nigeria

Article excerpt

Abstract

The pristine rainforest of Cross River State of Nigeria is ecologically a region of species endemism and one of the 25 biodiversity hotspots in the world. Globally, there has been a drive for sustainability of these valuable ecosystems. The world Commission on Environment and Development articulates this drive and offers clarifications on the instruments to achieve the goals of sustainable development. However, in many countries such as Nigeria and other African countries, the challenges of achieving the global goal of sustainable development are enormous, given the urge for economic and infrastructural development, and the challenging needs of a burgeoning human population. Natural resources conservation in the above circumstances remain an uphill task. In the developed world, advancement in technology and industrial development also poses a serious problem to the global sustainability agenda. From the Nigerian perspective, with Cross River State harboring more than 50 percent of the remaining pristine rainforest, the challenges to sustainable development include inter alia ineffective implementation of international environmental treaties, high rates of deforestation, biodiversity loss, weak institutions, non-resettlement of enclave communities of parks, and lack of commitment on the part of stakeholders. This paper therefore recommends that forest ecological restoration, biodiversity conservation in parks and protected areas, and industrial strengthening should be pursued as core strategies of sustainable development in Nigeria.

Keywords: sustainable development, conservation, challenges, biodiversity loss

1. Introduction

The paper argues that large scale environmental shocks in the context of limited capacity (like that of Cross River State of Nigeria), make global sustainable development goals poorly attainable. In such a context, global sustainable development goals can only be accomplished if government, the people, and the international community come together with the required capacity to articulate and implement an action agenda.

The 1995 Random House Webster's College Dictionary defines environment as: "the aggregate of surrounding things, conditions, or influences; surroundings, milieu; the air, water, minerals, organisms and all other external factors surrounding and affecting a given organism at any time; the social and cultural forces that shape the life of a person or population." Common and Stagl (2005: 22) maintain that by environment "we mean Planet Earth. It is one of nine Planets in the solar system, and as far as we know, the only one that supports life." Implicit in the above explanation are other fundamental questions that human generations have been asking and will continue to ask: are there other planets with life supporting systems apart from the earth? What will happen if the life support system of planet Earth becomes obscured one day? Common and Stagl (2005: 22) stress that the Earth functions as a living system - "a set of components that interact with each other" to support life. Human environmental interactions and impacts on different components of the Earth must therefore not undermine their capacity to support life.

Across continents, nations, and cultures, environmental issues and problems are not only common, but dominate their development agenda. Environment is the sector with the highest number of UN or multilateral agencies e.g. the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (UNCITES), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and environmental issues and activities are mainstreamed into the development agenda of international establishments like the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Industrial Organization UNIDO), the World Bank, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and bilateral organizations like USAID, DFID, GTZ, JTC, NORAD, etc. …

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