The Sheda Science and Technology Complex (SHETSCO), said it is partnering with University of Lagos on Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), to boost the coastal ecosystems in the country.
SHETSCO Director-General, Prof. Paul Onyenekwe, said this at the opening of a one-day Strategic Policy Dialogue and stakeholders engagement meeting on GBIF in Abuja.
The project was titled ‘implementation of the biodiversity information and data system for coastal ecosystems in Nigeria’.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that GBIF is an international network and data infrastructure targeted at providing open access to data about all types of life on Earth.
The director-general was represented by the Director of Planning, Research and Statistics, Dr Theophilus Abayomi
Onyenekwe said the project had established agreement on data sharing and exchange with the Nigerian biodiversity clearing house set up between relevant biodiversity-related organisations and stakeholders.
“These collaborative partnerships enabled the mobilisation of about 20,000 plant her barium specimens, 5,000 animal records as well as 6,000 fungal specimens from coastal systems in Nigeria.
” We will be listening to the findings of the projects and hope to come up with strategic plans that could help drive the policy for biodiversity projection in our coaster and marine environment,” Onyenekwe said.
He said coastal and marine environments were tremendously bio diverse, adding that human activities, pollution, land use and development along coastalines had put stress on the environment limiting the rate of growth and reproduction of coastal flora and fauna.
The immediate Past Vice-Chancellor of University of Lagos and Principal Investigator of the project, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said biodiversity was becoming one of the major environmental issues.
He said the basic problem was the increased rate of extinction as a result of expanding human population, resource exploitation, land clearing and land use development.
Ogundipe said: ”The project is about getting information on marine ecosystems concerning plants and living organisms in the country stretched over the marine from Lagos to Calabar.
“It is not just about collecting a new plant or animal or specimens, but it is about working on the various specimens collected by past scientists.”
He said there was need to have adequate information and data in coastal ecosystems to have a marine blue economy.
Ogundipe said having adequate data, research and information would be able to make the country measure up with international standards.
“Biodiversity conservation is important because it forms the major part of our life-support systems.
“Biodiversity constitutes the source of all our food, much of our raw materials, a wide range of goods and services and genetic materials for agriculture, medicine, industry, ” Ogundipe said.
He said information gathered at the end of the project would be disseminated at various platforms for proper usage and implementation.
The Director, Biotechnology, Genetic Engineering Advanced Research Centre SHETSCO, Dr Shola Odunsanya said the dialogue was apt and there was need for Nigerians to be guided and not misinformed on biodiversity.