From the Editor’s Keyboard

Biodiversity: Climate Change and SDGs

2 May 2019 at 03:52 | 1058 views

By Emperor Bailor Jalloh, PV Freetown Bureau Chief

My International Affairs studies at the Institute of International and Development Studies ,Geneva, Switzerland, Global Prosperity Beyond GDP at the University College London, United Nations Volunteer (UNV) Candidate with Roster Number 849159 managed by UNDP and the enviable spirit of UNDP’s network of Environmental Journalists provided platforms for me to write this piece on Biodiversity- Climate Change and Sustainable Development Goals ( SDGS).

UN Conferences that have served as agenda setters and been instrumental in putting certain issues, such as climate change and sustainable humanitarian action at the top of the global agenda. UN Summits raise awareness and frame global discussions, often leading to the adoption of new binding instruments a few years later. They usually involve heads of state and government, heads of intergovernmental international organisations and non-governmental organisations, as well as actors from civil society and the private sector.

Among all issues, the most consistent track record of action by the UN-conferences has been on environmental issues and the link between the environment and development. It began with the UN Conference on the Human Environment that led to the creation of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) (Stockholm 1972). Then came the landmark conference on the environment and development, best known as the Earth Summit (Rio, 1992) that launched the Agenda 21, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) was as well as the Convention of Biodiversity (CBD). The Earth Summit was followed by the World Summit on Sustainable Development (2002, Rio + 10, in Johannesburg, South Africa) that reviewed the process of the work agenda of Rio and by the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (2012; Rio+20; in Rio) that led to the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) three years later in 2015 with 17 identified SDGs and 169 targets.

My home country, Sierra Leone, a tiny country in West Africa with huge Biodiversity and Climate Change challenges has Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in a bid to confront these huge challenges with limited state resources. The MDAs are the Ministry of Lands, Housing and the Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) under the Office of the President and the National Protected Area Authority (NPAA).

As for desertification as a result of deforestation without afforestation, it is estimated that 12 million hectares of productive land become barren every year due to desertification and drought alone, raising threats about future agricultural yields, especially in the African continent .Desertification, and other forms of land degradation, has been progressing persistently for about 25 years, with now more than 60% of land worldwide being degraded.

In that context, the adoption of SDG 15in 2015 came as a welcome sign of acknowledgement of the seriousness of the problem and prompts countries to ‘protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage the forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation and also halt biodiversity loss ‘while associated Target 15.3 requires states to ‘strive achieve a land-degradation neutral world.
Pen ultimately,

Biodiversity and Climate Change are serious global threats as the African Continent seems to be a primary victim and that the UN, USAID and other reputable international organisations should continue their frantic efforts in protecting, restoring and promoting Biodiversity, Climate Change and other environmental hazards.

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