UNODC & Nigeria Combat Wildlife Crime Through Digital Innovation

UNODC & Nigeria Combat Wildlife Crime Through Digital Innovation
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In a joint effort to combat illegal wildlife trade and preserve Nigeria’s biodiversity, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Government of Nigeria commemorated World Wildlife Day 2024. The event, held at the Abuja Continental Hotel, centered on the theme “Connecting People and Planet: Exploring Digital Innovation in Wildlife Conservation in Nigeria.”

Recent reports by UNODC highlighted Nigeria’s significant surge in illegal wildlife trade, posing severe threats to its vulnerable species and rich biodiversity. In response, UNODC has been implementing technical assistance interventions since 2020, including the development and implementation of the National Strategy to Combat Wildlife and Forest Crime in Nigeria 2022-2026.

UNODC & Nigeria Combat Wildlife Crime Through Digital Innovation
    The Honourable Minister of Environment, Balarabe Abbas Lawal

    The event showcased the findings of the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) Toolkit Assessment Report for Nigeria. This comprehensive analysis identified key recommendations, including improved law enforcement collaboration, the passage of the Endangered Species Conservation and Protection Bill 2022, and capacity-building initiatives for investigators and prosecutors.

    In his opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Environment; Mahmud Kambari, emphasized the need for collective action to preserve Nigeria’s natural heritage. He highlighted the role of digital innovation in monitoring and protecting wildlife, citing projects that have utilized artificial intelligence and citizen science to gather vital information.

    UNODC & Nigeria Combat Wildlife Crime Through Digital Innovation
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      The Honourable Minister of Environment, Balarabe Abbas Lawal, in his keynote address, underscored the importance of digital solutions in addressing the challenges facing the planet’s ecosystems. He called for global collaboration and knowledge sharing to ensure a sustainable future for both wildlife and communities.

      While delivering a goodwill message, UNODC Nigeria’s Country Representative; Oliver Stolpe highlighted the organization’s support for a communications strategy aimed at raising awareness of Nigeria’s biodiversity. A digital campaign, titled #BeWildforNature, has been launched, targeting young people to creatively raise awareness about the dangers of wildlife extinction.

      UNODC & Nigeria Combat Wildlife Crime Through Digital Innovation
        UNODC Nigeria’s Country Representative; Oliver Stolpe

        The event concluded with a call to double efforts in combatting wildlife trafficking and harnessing the transformative power of technology to forge stronger connections between people and the planet. UNODC expressed gratitude to its partners for their support in the fight against wildlife crime.

        Read Also: Thecoaches, NHRC Forge Partnership to Promote Human Rights

        In summary, the World Wildlife Day celebration in Nigeria showcased the critical role of digital innovation in wildlife conservation. By leveraging technology and fostering partnerships, Nigeria aims to protect its precious wildlife and preserve its rich biodiversity for generations to come.

        • By Ken Gbados
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