WELCOME ADDRESS BY
DR. (MRS.) IHUOMA P. ASIABAKA,
AG. DIRECTOR CENTRE FOR WOMEN,
GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT STUDIES, CWGDS, FUTO,
ON THE OCCASION OF THE 201 3, WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY CELEBRATION IN FUTO, HOLDING ON THURSDAY, 27TH JUNE, 2013.
I feel highly delighted and honoured to welcome you all to the 2013 World Environment Day Celebration in FUTO. The World Environment Day was first celebrated in FUTO last year. The highlights of the 2012 celebration in FUTO were as follows:
ü Sanitary inspection of classrooms, student hostels, laboratories, workshops, cafeteria, toilet facilities and surroundings of all the buildings in the University.
ü Grassing of the environment for beautification and erosion control.
ü Tree planting for beautification/aesthetics, erosion control, wind breakers and environmental purification.
ü General environmental sanitation through grass-cutting, clearing of blocked gutters, sweeping etc.
ü Lectures, demonstrations and exhibitions on environmental issues.
CWGDS has decided to make the celebration of World Environment Day in FUTO an annual event to enable the University Community join the global conversation on environmental issues.
World Environment Day celebration aims at emphasizing the importance of protecting our planet and promoting an understanding that we can individually and collectively play significant roles in tackling environmental issues; especially considering the fact that the environment is intimately connected to global health. According to WHO report, environmental risk factors play vital role in more than 80% of diseases; and about 25% of the death can be attributed to the negative impact of the environment.
Through the celebration of World Environment Day, the United Nations (UN) personalized environmental issues enabling us to realize not only our responsibility, but also our power to become agents of change in support of sustainable and equitable development. The celebration draws attention to environmental challenges such as climate change, global warming, ecosystem management, resource efficiency etc. It also provides the platform on which the political, social, and economic problems of global environments are discussed at an intergovernmental forum with a view to actually taking corrective actions. It is celebrated annually on June 5th.
This year's Theme "Think-Eat-Save (TES) is chosen to encourage the prevention of food wastage and to raise awareness about the environmental impact of the food choices people make because when food is wasted, natural resources are wasted. TES also aims at reducing food loss along the entire chain of food production and consumption, particularly food wasted by consumers, retailers and hospitality industry.
It is an anti-food waste and food loss campaign that encourages us to re-assess our "food print" (food production). It is estimated that a third of food produced globally is either wasted or lost; and this is an enormous drain on natural resources and a contributor to negative environmental impacts. Global food production occupies a large area of habitable land, consumes about 70% of fresh water, accounts for 80% of deforestation and 30% greenhouse gas emissions thus resulting in loss of biodiversity and land-use change. When food is wasted, all the resources and inputs used in its productions are also lost.
According to United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted annually; and this is equivalent to the same amount of food produced in the whole Sub-Saharan Africa. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reported that 1 in every 7 people in the world go to bed hungry and more them 20,000 children under the age of 5 die daily from hunger. Thus this enormous imbalance in life styles and the resultant devastating effects on the environment make this year's theme: "Think-Eat-Save" most timely.
It encourages us to become more aware of the environmental impact of the food choices we make and empowers us to make informed decisions about the food we eat so as to reduce the overall ecological impact.
This year we have articulated the following activities for the World Environment Day celebration in FUTO:
ü Sanitary inspection of Schools in FUTO to ascertain the cleanest School.
ü Environmental Sanitation
ü Students' Debate and Drama
ü Slide Show
It is hoped that at the end of 2013 World Environmental Day celebration in FUTO we will develop positive ways of protecting the environment through preventing food wastages by:
· Sharing our excess food
· Developing preference for local food
· Using traditional preservation methods
· Re-cycling of organic food
· Conversion of organic waste into fertilizer
There is need for collective efforts at reducing food wastage, save money, minimize the environmental impacts of food production and make food production processes more efficient.
May I most sincerely appreciate in a very special way our beloved Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Chigozie C. Asiabaka KSM, JP and the University Management for approving and financially supporting this celebration. I also thank our Keynote speaker Prof. A.I. Ihekoronye for accepting to deliver the Keynote paper in a very short notice. I am grateful to the Deans, Directors, Managing Directors, Heads of Departments, Co-coordinators, the Unions and indeed the University Community for their unending love and support. To the Planning Committee led by Dr. (Mrs.) G.N. Okwu and our beloved students i say thank you for your efforts at ensuring the success of this celebration. Finally I thank all our distinguished guests from within and outside the State for honouring our invitation. Once more, I welcome you all to the 201 3 World Environment Day cerebration in FUTO
Thank you and God bless you.
Dr. Ihuoma P. Asiabaka
Ag. Director, CWGDS, FUTO