A global body, World Wide Fund for Nature and a pan-Africa non-governmental organisation, International Support Network for Africa Development (ISNAD-Africa), yesterday, insisted that countries in the continent, especially Nigeria, must adopt and implement resilient post-COVID-19 economic policies.
This, according to them, remained a critical approach to rebuild better and guard against future crises considering the devastating impacts of the pandemic on trade and the economy.
The organisations disclosed this in a document made available to The Guardian as part of a campaign aimed at mitigating the many impacts of zoonotic issues.
The stakeholders also noted that although the pandemic caused catastrophic impacts in the oil and gas sector, oil dependent countries like Nigeria must diversify towards sustainable sectors.
“The coronavirus disease outbreak and the consequent decline in oil prices presents an opportunity for oil dependent economies to diversify into sectors that are pro-sustainability,” the document signed by founder, ISNAD-Africa, Adedoyin Adeleke, said.
Adeleke said while the agricultural sector represents 35 per cent of the region’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and means of livelihood for many rural dwellers, the sector has been badly affected by the pandemic.
He noted that supply chains were disrupted resulting from the COVID-19 containment measures, adding that such development affected food security.
To mitigate the challenge, he noted that sustainable food production, storage, and distribution practices need to be adopted to protect the vulnerable.
“Africa is vulnerable to the impact of environmental injustice. African governments need to present a united front to ensure the COVID19 recovery strategies engender sustainability and nature-positive initiatives.
“In Nigeria, it is estimated that 29 per cent of the country’s disease burden is linked to risk factors in the environment. The government needs to increase environmental awareness to reduce disease outbreak. This would enhance human capacity development and ensure sustainable development,” Adeleke said.
The group, under a campaign, tagged: “New Health Deal for Nature,” noted that a collaborative measure was needed to build back better as everyone needs to be aware of the biodiversity that exists around them, its importance and how to protect it.
They argued that biodiversity loss, a key driver of emerging infectious diseases like the coronavirus disease, poses a variety of risks to businesses, society and the global economy, stressing that investing in the conservation, sustainable use and restoration of biodiversity could help to address these risks, while providing jobs, business opportunities and other benefits to society.
They stated that African countries need to integrate biodiversity considerations into their COVID-19 response and economic recovery plans.
“Biodiversity considerations that African governments can integrate include changes to regulation on wildlife trade to protect human health, and job programmes focused on ecosystem restoration, sustainable forest management and invasive species control,” the group noted.