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FG to implement UN framework on environment statistics

28 July 2013, 15:09

Abuja - The Federal Ministry of Environment is set to implement the UN framework for the development of environmental statistics in the country, an official of the ministry has said.

Philip Bankole, Deputy Director, Research and Statistics in the ministry, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday.

Bankole said that the ministry would soon set up some committees to implement the framework.

He said that the framework contained a comprehensive list of environmental statistics and indicators for tracking sustainable development in all sectors of the economy.

Bankole said Nigeria was a party to the development of the framework which was recently approved by the UN Statistical Commission.

"The environment needs to be monitored every now and then to know how sustainable it will be, how habitable it will be because when we destroy the environment, it will have impact on our own wellbeing.

"So, what the environment statistics tries to do is to monitor the state of the environment to know what is happening and what is causing the distortion in environment.

"Environment statistics cuts across several issues; whatever you are doing as human beings, you are either exploiting from the resources of the environment or depleting it or you are polluting it.

"Even from your vehicles, the emission to the air is causing pollution; your generator in the house is causing air pollution and so on, all those are things that are of interest in environmental statistics issues,’’ he said.

Bankole said the framework was developed by experts across the globe, adding that only three experts were drawn from Africa, including Nigeria.

According to him, the use of the framework in national statistics systems will enhance development in the sector, as both a multi-purpose and flexible tool that can be tailored to specific environmental policy concerns.

"Now, this framework that has just been developed by the UN with a group of experts is now given to countries to see how they can use the framework, use the indicators in it to gather statistics that will tell them the state of environment in their countries.

"Some of these environmental issues are cross cutting issues, what is happening in one country may affect others, when it comes to the issues of climate change, it is trans-boundary.

"Basically, the essence is to be sure that our environment can still sustain us, not only us, but be able to sustain future generations. So, we owe it a duty to protect the environment for future generations.

"That is how the issue of sustainable development comes in and in this framework, you have indicators and statistics to be generated,’’ he said.

The deputy director, however, said that the ministry would organise a two-day national conference between July 31 and Aug. 1 to fashion out strategies for the application of the framework in Nigeria.

He said that the conference would be organised in collaboration with the UN  Development Programme (UNDP).

Bankole said the expected outcome of the meeting would be to identify the Ministries, Departments and Agencies that would be responsible for the generation of relevant statistics for the list of the indicators in the framework.

"What is the level of knowledge? What is the existing situation? - A kind of self assessment.   What is the level of capacity?  What is the level of intellect, the level of equipment, the level of data ? What level of data do we have ? What are the gaps and how can we address this?.

"At the same time, we intend to set up a national steering committee at the policy level so that there will be backing and also set up a national technical committee for technical issues on environment statistics.

"By putting these committees into place, we believe that we are charting a way forward to implement the new framework in Nigeria.

"The beauty about environment data is that it is useful for everybody; for traders, farmers, scientists, for whoever may be that needs information on environment and it is from these data that you can generate translated information,’’ he said.

NAN recalls that the decision to hold a two-day National Conference on the UN  Revised Framework for the Development of Environment Statistics (FDES) was reached at the National Council on Environment in Makurdi in May.

NAN recalls that the first FDES was published in 1984 by the UN Statistics Division, while the revised version was published in 2013 to take care of new and emerging environmental issues.

The FDES is expected to contribute significantly to improve monitoring and measurement of the environmental dimension of sustainable development and to the post-2015 development agenda.



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