Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has advocated political will on the part of world leaders towards the implementation of resolutions on environmental issues.
The Senate President spoke when a delegation of the Working Group on Environmental Audit of African Organisation of the Supreme Audit Institutions (AFROSAI WGEA) paid a courtesy visit on him at the National Assembly in Abuja on Thursday.
Saraki who was responding to an earlier speech by the leader of the delegation, acknowledged that some of the issues already highlighted remains to be implemented for development due to absence of appropriate political will by the leaders.
He said, “I think some key points you said, some of the agreements you talk about that you have signed with some organisations, the point is how far have they have gone on implementation? Who is making sure that they are being implemented?
“By the time we leave all those conferences as politicians, we shake hands with ourselves, we take pictures, the real issues are these commitments. Are they being met.
“I think these are the areas we truly want to say that what you are doing will play a key role to ensure that some of these environmental policies and solutions that we put aside are addressed,” he said.
According to the Senate President, “In Nigeria, we talk about deforestation, we talk about oil spillage, and it is clear that it is affecting the lives of our people all over. This shows us the point we are and what we need to do.
“I think we don’t need to wait every 10 years for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to do reports. Groups like this can keep us constantly on our toes and I appreciate the fact that the Auditor-General have also decided to identify ways, apart from your core mandate, of addressing the issue of environment.
“So, I want to commend the efforts you are doing and to assure you that we are going to cooperate to bring more successes to what you are doing.
“We can do that as part of efforts to make your work easier and to bring more success to what you are doing. I think that it will go a long way in helping and making the environment much more better.”
The Senate President commended the relevance of AFROSAI on environmental issues, saying, “I want to commend the work you are doing and definitely to show you that the Senate and the National Assembly will do our best to give you the necessary support as a necessary advocacy and awareness in order for you to do what you have set out to do.
“You have captured some key issues that I have always talked about. I will continue to say that the environment is a subject matter that is battling with a numbers of issues like poverty, infrastructure development and so on, and different countries have pushed it to the back thinking it is not as important as it is. The impact of environmental issues on every facet of our social economic development cannot be underestimated,” he stated.
According to the leader of the delegation, Mrs. Mbah Acha Rose Fomundam, the AFROSAI – WGEA is mandated to contribute to the understanding by member Institutions on specific issues linked to environmental auditing, facilitate the exchange of information and experiences among Supreme Audit Institutions, update and improve standards and tools for environmental audit, including dissemination of guidelines and other current materials on the environment.
She also said that the theme of this year’s meeting hosted by Nigeria, is “Working together for a sustainable and healthy environment in Africa” explaining that this theme calls on all to respect the environment, the common heritage without which no life is possible.
Accordingly, the leader of the delegation of AFROSAI said, “This theme goes beyond simple respect; as it also invites us to adopt a vision, to strengthen our ties and to adopt an active and optimistic attitude – that of working together for sustainability.”
For some years now, she said, “environmental sustainability has become a global challenge, synonymous to responsibility towards future generations. Through many initiatives, conferences and summits, world leaders came to the understanding that the natural resources of the earth are not unlimited.”
Mrs. Mbah said that recently, world leaders gathered at the United Nations General Assembly Meeting in September 2015 at the World Summit on Sustainable Development where they adopted the Agenda 2030, which is a global development program with 17 Sustainable Development Goals, to be implemented by the year 2030.
“Yet, the observation is that despite the signing of multilateral agreements on the environment and established Institutions, current scientific studies reveal that many of the planet’s ecosystems have rapidly deteriorated over the last twenty years.
“At the same time, citizens have increasingly expected that organizations that hurt the environment be held accountable for their actions. Many citizens feel that Government declarations concerning the environment and sustainable development should be subject to independent audits to assess the extent to which they are implemented,” she stated.