AT THE LAUNCHING OF THE MAIDEN ISSUE (Vol. 1, No 1, April – June, 2004)
At the strategic retreat for mainstreaming environment into national economic agenda hosted by my ministry in July 2004, technical papers presented addressed diverse issues ranging from ecological problems, through the impact of government policies on the environment to contributions of environmental issues to national Gross Domestic Product GDP while synergising environment and development. Syndicate groups were requested to review the present situation, identify gaps and problems, proffer solutions by developing action plans and fundable projects.
These syndicate groups noted and agreed on the following:
- Environment and Development are intimately interrelated.
- The existing national environmental policy will require a review to better deliver on the new and emerging environmental challenges.
- There is a backlog of environmental problems in Nigeria which require urgent attention.
- A self-sustaining national environmental protection and enforcement agency is desirable.
The retreat made many recommendations, notable among which is the need to develop a process for an annual publication of the state of the environment in Nigeria so as to facilitate access to environmental information by all stakeholders. This is exactly where a journal of the environment becomes extremely relevant.
I am sure that the environmental situation in Nigeria is not very different from the situation in many countries in the tropical belt. What may be different is the degree and intensity of attention given by various governments to Environmental Governance, Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) and sustainable Socio-Economic Development. In Africa, Nigeria takes the lead in all respects and it is our hope that other African and tropical countries which may be lagging behind join the global race for sustainable development without irreversible damage to the environment.
Achievement of this is a hydra-headed phenomenon, of which research is a very strong basic component. Without research, actors in the field of environmental governance will have no baseline information based on empirical facts to guide them. Multilateral agreements will have no serious input and of course, sustainable socio-economic development will be a ruse. Access to research findings is exactly what journals of this nature provides. The positive role of journals in the process of sustainable development can therefore not be overemphasized.
It is therefore with great pleasure that I welcome Environtropica into the arena of environmental studies and governance in a part of the world where access to information is problematic. I am convinced that this Journal will go places not only because of its international outlook but also because of the quality and global spread of the articles.
I commend the efforts of the International Editorial Board while I welcome all stakeholders on Board in the inevitable global effort to make sure that we, as human beings, leave the environment as good as, if not better than the state in which we met it.
Col. Bala Mande (Rtd.)
Hon. Minister for Environment in Nigeria