On Monday, representatives of the Economic Community of West African States committed to giving ratification and execution of the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction treaty top priority.
At the ECOWAS coordination meeting on the ratification of the BBNJ treaty, which was arranged by the Federal Government in collaboration with the Sierra Leonean government and the ECOWAS Directorate of Environment and Natural Resources, the stakeholders made promises.
A legally binding agreement for the preservation and sustainable use of marine biological variety in regions outside of national borders is the BBNJ treaty.
The treaty is essential for preventing the loss of biodiversity in the high seas, combating climate change, addressing environmental degradation, and promoting equity and fairness. The pact will become operative upon ratification by 60 parties.
Speaking, Dr. Iziaq Salako, the Minister of State for Environment, stated that action must be taken because the world’s oceans are in danger.
“The oceans are under threat more than ever before,” said Salako. “The reasons for this are the near-extinction of coral reefs, the rise in sea level, temperature increases, acidification, pollution, loss of biodiversity, and unsustainable exploitation of marine resources.”
Nigeria and its fellow ECOWAS members have united to call on the world community to be more ambitious in its response as a result of the pressing need to address this menace. We are making a clear and urgent call for a bold international response to the biodiversity disaster.
“After the urgent appeal, we determined that a number of measures were necessary, such as the worldwide designation of thirty percent of land and ocean areas as protected by 2030, the signing of a strong new high-seas treaty, the creation of fully and highly protected areas covering thirty percent of the world’s ocean that forbid activities that harm the environment, and a worldwide commitment to immediately stop the extinction of wild species caused by humans,” among other things.
According to him, only seven per cent of the world’s oceans are protected, and there are no comprehensive legal mechanisms in place to protect the high seas and the deep seabed areas, the shared international areas of oceans that lie beyond national jurisdictions, and that include almost 70 per cent of the global ocean.
Salako stated that oceans require strong protection that can only be achieved through a new treaty for the conservation and management of marine life in the high seas.
“This treaty must ensure that human activities are managed to prevent significant adverse impacts, with vigorous oversight mechanisms and provisions to establish fully and highly protected Marine Protected Areas in the high seas.
“It is imperative that the high seas treaty be ratified as soon as possible and that we actively participate in its implementation in order to protect our oceans,” he stated.
According to Moussa Leko, the Director of the Environment Department at ECOWAS, the countries’ desire has played a significant role in ensuring favorable outcomes from sessions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The goal at hand, according to Leko, is to make sure that the crucial ECOWAS appeal—which calls for an ambitious international response to the biodiversity crisis—continues to be heard loud and clear by the world community.
“This appeal embodies a basic reality: in order to safeguard our world, we urgently need to act decisively. In order to maintain ecosystem services that are essential to human well-being and the livelihood of our local communities, we must act quickly to protect biodiversity. A future beyond our wildest dreams would arise if we were to lose these services or remain silent as our communities descended into poverty and hunger. It isn’t even close to being a possibility.
“We are prepared to safeguard and restore our wild species, as well as to fortify and broaden our protected regions. We are prepared to take action to save our ecosystem services, biodiversity, and enchanted, singular settings.