As part of the activities to mark this year’s World Ocean Day, the Lekan Bakare Foundation, a Lagos-based environmental advocacy organization has organized an interactive session to dialogue and fashion out strategies to integrate climate change measures into government policy-making and planning. This virtual session was held via the live Spaces feature of the social platform Twitter and had in attendance experts, policy-makers, researchers, community leaders and a host of other participants with a keen interest in matters of climate change.
Panellists at the session included Dr Arlene Gipson of Parkland Health and Hospital Systems in Texas, USA; Olumide Idowu, Executive Director of the International Climate Change Development Inititiative; Abdulmumin Edidi, Member of the Nigerian Youth Parliament and Tosin Ikuyinminu, Managing Director of Hypeman Africa.
Whilst explaining the mission of the foundation and its focus on ocean and marine life which is the 14th Social Development Goal by the United Nations, founder Chief Lekan Bakare emphasized the need for deliberate action to forestall the disappearing shoreline across many coastal cities in Africa and reiterated that the human factor involved in this could be reversed through advocacy at events such as this. “It is imperative that we recognize the vital role of oceans in mitigating climate change and take proactive steps to protect them. Through collective efforts and informed policy-making, we can ensure a sustainable future for generations to come,” he said.
Speakers discussed the importance of incorporating climate change considerations into policy frameworks, promoting sustainable practices, and creating resilient communities. Some of the points raised included the need for government to follow through on pre-existing climate policies and laws, the importance of education in inculcating proper waste management into their everyday lives, cultivation of green areas and planting of trees along the coasts in order to protect and conserve the oceans and marine resources.
Through initiatives such as this, the Lekan Bakare Foundation has been committed to raising awareness of the effect of climate change and facilitated various sensitization programmes, especially for inhabitants of the coastal areas in Lagos and surrounding states. The foundation also carries out periodic beach cleanups to evacuate waste and debris from the coastline across the state. Its next cleanup programme is billed for World Ocean Day on June 8 at Elegushi Beach in Ikate, Lagos.