KEYNOTE ADDRESS DELIVERED BY PROF. DAPO AFOLABI AT THE PUBLIC PRESENTATION OF THE MAIDEN ISSUE OF ENVIRONTROPICA – AN INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF THE TROPICAL ENVIRONMENT
It gives me great pleasure to deliver this address at this unique occasion where we are all part of a great event which is a giant stride towards ensuring that we pass on to our children an environment that is not worse in terms of quality than the one we inherited from our forefathers.
We are all aware of the peculiar problems of the tropical environment. Peculiar problems require peculiar solutions which must be derived from empirical information on the state of the environment.
The question then is: How do we obtain this empirical information? The answer is simple. We obtain empirical information through research. Journals are the most authentic means of disseminating information on research findings. The Journal that is being presented today is therefore an avenue for realising the goals of environmental protection by providing the channel through which research findings can be made public for policy makers to synthesise and utilise.
According to the Editorial Board of this Journal, the primary focus is the tropical environment, either in its natural state or in its exploited form. The Journal is devoted to the presentation and discussion of original research or to significant review and interpretative articles. The Journal views the environment in its broadest sense to include not only the biotic and abiotic components but also the social and cultural aspects in tropical countries. It is therefore an avenue for pure scientists, applied scientists as well as social scientists to disseminate information on their research findings. This is the greatest asset of this Journal which gives it a unique outlook when compared with many other Journals of the environment both at home and abroad.
Another asset of this Journal is the international composition of the Editorial Board. Coupled with this is the wide spread of articles from many countries in the tropical belt. It is my hope that this international outlook is maintained by the Editorial Board of this Journal.
At the strategic retreat for mainstreaming environment into national economic agenda hosted by the Ministry of Environment in July 2004, the syndicate groups agreed that there is a backlog of environmental problems in Nigeria (and all tropical countries) which require urgent attention. 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. The Minister for Environment Rtd. Colonel Bala Mande in the introductory remarks of the maiden issue of this Journal has declared that this is exactly where a journal of the environment becomes extremely relevant. I believe that Environtropica, given the quality of articles in the maiden issue, is poised to take up this challenge and I have no doubt in my mind that the Journal is up to this task.
In his introductory remarks, the Minister said further that “…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”. If the current efforts of the Editorial Board of Environtropica is complimented by adequate support from all stakeholders in environmental Protection in this country, I believe that Nigeria will continue to play this leadership role which many tropical countries have acknowledged that we have been playing so far.
It is with great pleasure that I welcome everybody here present to the Public Presentation of Environtropica and other titles by the editor-in-Chief. I am assuring you that all the teething problems of the Journal will be solved today, if we are all determined to be part of this noble stride towards sustainable development in the tropical realm, by giving the Board all the support that it deserves.
I commend the efforts of the International Editorial Board while I welcome all lovers of the environment on Board as partners in progress in support of this golden initiative from the Editorial Board of Environtropica.
Prof. Dapo Afolabi