It is my pleasure to welcome you all to this very important event- the 11thNational Stakeholders’ Forum of the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency(NESREA), and the commemoration of her 10th Year Anniversary. NESREA is an Agency of the Federal Ministry of Environment and its enforcement arm.
Let me first congratulate the Director General, the management and the entire of the Agency on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of NESREA and to commend them for their efforts in environmental governance over the last 10 years.
The National Stakeholders’ Forum is an annual event in which the Agency selects a topical environmental issue for public discourse. The Forum is a key component of NESREA programme on public involvement and citizens’ participation in environmental governance. The theme for this year’s Stakeholders’ Forum is ‘Environmental Governance – A Key to Achieving Green Economy’.
The main objective of the Forum is to deepen our knowledge and understanding of environmental governance as a critical factor in achieving green economy within the context of sustainable development, and how best to mainstream the green agenda into our national development plan. Other specific objectives include:
- to understand the concepts and elements of environmental governance and green economy, and their linkages within the context of sustainable development;
- to explore available best practices and options in environmental governance towards achieving green economy;
- to highlight the experiences and key milestones of NESREA in environmental governance over the last 10years; and
- to provide concrete recommendations on the way forward.
Distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen, our environment is approaching a tipping point. The negative impacts of both natural and anthropogenic activities on the environment are beginning to tell on us. We must protect our environment. And to do so effectively, we must from time to time come up with laws, regulations and standards to guide and control some activities in various sectors of our economy with full involvement and participation of all stakeholders, including the citizenry. This is the essence of environmental governance.
Environmental Governance is characterized by the integration of sectoral policies, institutional capacities, priorities, and clear operational objectives. It encourages new and additional public-private partnerships and the use of market-based instruments to address environmental challenges. It also allows for more non-state involvement and investments. It takes into account all factors that are closely related to the protection and preservation of environment and shape people’s behavior towards the environment. It is about the governance of environmental issues including compliance monitoring and enforcement.
We cannot achieve sustainable development and protection of our environment without first ensuring good environmental governance, which is dependent on the rule of law.
A well-designed regulatory framework can create incentives that drive economic activity. A robust regulatory framework as well as effective enforcement of legislation can be potent means of driving green investments. Such a framework reduces regulatory and business risks and increases the confidence of investors and markets. The use of regulations is often necessary to address all forms of unsustainable consumption and production patterns, either by creating standards or prohibiting entirely certain operations and activities. Environmental standards can be effective in promoting markets for green goods and services, and can induce efficiency and stimulate eco-innovations that will promote economy.
Green economy is a pathway towards achieving sustainable development and eradicating poverty while safeguarding the ecological thresholds, which underpin human health, well-being and development. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) defines a green economy as one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. In a green economy, growth in income and employment are driven by public and private investments that reduce carbon foot-print, environmental degradation and pollution, enhances energy and resource efficiency and prevent the loss of biodiversity ad ecosystem services. These investments need to be supported by environmental governance, including effective policy and regulatory framework.
Distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen, the world has become a global village. Many environmental problems have become trans-boundary in nature. Their effects can now be felt hundreds of thousands of miles away from their primary sources of origin. This makes it imperative for us to be vigilant at home, and at the time be an active player in the global efforts to protect the environment.
The Government is taking an increasingly pro-activemeasures in planning for environmental protection and sustainable development that will place our country on a pathway to resilient and inclusive green growth. We shall continue to encourage environment-friendly investments and eco-friendly industrial activities and operations.
I enjoin you to work with NESREA in promoting the rule of law and environmental governance so that we can protect the environment and achieve green economy.
Everyone of us, irrespective of our gender, class or creed, is a stakeholder in our national efforts to protect the environment and achieve sustainable development. Nobody is above the law. We must all comply with the environmental laws and regulations. No sacred cow.Any violators must be penalized in accordance with the law.
Let me once again commend the Direct General, the management and entire staff of NESREA for their efforts in promoting environmental governance since the inception of the Agency and to congratulate them on the 10-year Anniversary of NESREA.
I look forward to the outcome of this Forum.It is our hope that the outcome will further deepen our understanding of environmental governance as a critical factor in achieving green economy within the context of sustainable development. It will also assist us to find solutions on how best to mainstream the green agenda into our national development plan.
It is my pleasure therefore, to declare this 11th National Stakeholders’ Forum and NESREA 10-year Anniversary open. I wish you fruitful deliberations.