Biodiversity conservation is highly important in achieving the One Health goal. One Health is an integrated, unifying approach that aims to sustainably balance and optimize the health of people, animals, and ecosystems. A healthy community depends on well-functioning ecosystems. Biodiversity must be conserved and protected to maintain a healthy ecosystem.
Biological diversity [biodiversity] can simply be referred to as a variety of animal and plant species of a given landscape, or waterbody. These vary from one landscape and/or water body to another due to the natural formation of such environments. National Geographic jots that our planet could be home to about 8.7 million species with just 1.2 million ascertained as of now. A growing concern among conservationists has been the extinction of even the few species known to exist. This means that the extinction of these is to forfeit the benefits that other species gain from such. To control biodiversity loss, the Convention on Biological Diversity came into force.
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was adopted on December 29, 1993, to promote the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of natural resources, and the equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources. Nigeria, like many other countries, has taken steps to identify with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Nigeria became a party to the CBD in 1994, which means that it has committed to implementing the objectives of the convention within its national borders.
To commit to this agreement, Nigeria has taken several steps to improve the take-up of the Convention on Biological Diversity Nigeria mainly through the development of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, establishment of the National Biodiversity Committee, embedding biodiversity conservation considerations into the national policies, and implementation of biodiversity conservation projects.
Nigeria’s commitment to the Convention on Biological Diversity has been evident with its development of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP). Nigeria has developed an NBSAP that outlines the country’s strategy for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. The plan identifies priority areas for action, including protected areas, biodiversity research, and public awareness.
Application of the Convention on Biological Diversity manifests through the structures committed to conservation and biodiversity like The National Biodiversity Committee. This committee oversees the implementation of the NBSAP. The composition of this committee is representative of government officials, those from not-for-profit organizations, and other civil society actors.
Nigeria’s national policies have an imprint on the CBD because steps have been taken to inculcate biodiversity considerations into these, such as the National Environmental Policy and the National Agricultural Policy.
Also, action on biodiversity conservation signals a commitment to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Nigerian civil society has implemented several biodiversity conservation projects, such as One Health and Development Initiative’s
Project Pangolin Conservation in Epe, Lagos State. This project has increased pangolin conservation awareness in several Communities in Epe, Lagos. Similarly, OHDI promoted marine conservation awareness in Akwa Ibom State through its Project Conservation Education.
Other organizations such as the Drill Ranch, Pangolin Conservation Guild Nigeria (PCGN), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) have also been key towards the CBD objectives by protecting wildlife spaces and threatened species such as the Drill monkey, Nigeria – Cameroon Chimpanzee, Preuss’s Red Colobus, Cross River gorilla, Forest, and Savanna Elephants among many others.
It, therefore, remains crucial to note that the Convention on Biological Diversity is an important international framework for a country like Nigeria. Putting into perspective challenges like illegal wildlife trade, habitat destruction, and climate change, which threaten Nigeria’s rich biodiversity, there is a need to greatly improve ways of conserving biodiversity and promoting sustainable development. Having in place conservation frameworks and action brings about a balance of species that play critical functions in the ecosystem of which animals, man, and the environment are part. This balance is necessary for improved well-being and One Health consciousness.