The 4th edition of the World Environmental Conservation Conference was adjudged to be unique from the previous ones going by the content of the programmes lined up to commemorate this event. There were indications that the set aims and objectives of conveying this conference had been greatly achieved. The event kicked off on the 4th of June with a tree planting exercise that was demonstrated on the campus of the Federal University of Technology, Akure and was viewed online. This exercise was a clear demonstration of the support to restore the ecosystem in line with the theme of this year’s World Environment Day as declared by the United Nations. Participants yielded to the call to partake in this exercise and they were pleased to share the pictures and videos of this event as were carried out across their local communities. These were later uploaded on the Organization’s social media platforms. Before this day, the topic for the essay competition “REIMAGINE, RECREATE AND RESTORE TO IMPROVE OUR ECOSYSTEM” was rolled out and the winners were announced on the 5th June, 2021. This accomplishment was remarkable and the pronounced overall winner as well as the runner-up were congratulated and rewarded.
In line with the theme of this year’s WECC 2021 “STRENGTHENING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALs IN COVID-19 ERA”, participants at the virtual conference deliberated on pertinent issues that revolved around the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and strategies towards strengthening the implementation and actualization of the set targets.
The participants comprised of academia, researchers, policymakers, environmental conservation practitioners and other relevant stakeholders in private and corporate organizations, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). Other dignitaries and eminent personalities present at the occasion included Prof. Phillip Oguntunde, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development), FUTA, who represented Prof. J. A. Fuwape, The Vice-Chancellor of the host institution; Prof. ‘Tola Badejo, The Vice-Chancellor of Eastern Palm University, Ogboko, Owerri, Imo State who was also the Keynote Speaker at this event; Dr. I .M. Goni, Conservator-General of Nigeria National Parks Service and the guest speaker at the occasion; and Alhaji Moshood Lawal, Desk Officer, Entrepreneurship and Social Investment, office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals.
Based on the foresight of the keynote and guest speakers on the theme of the conference and multidisciplinary perspectives of the authors as presented in the various areas of subthemes, the participants therefore resolved as follows:
1. There is a need for the establishment of additional fish farms in Akure North Local Government Area, to meet the fish demand of the teeming population in this area. The government was therefore enjoined to address the major problems being encountered by the fish farmers and also create enabling environment that will encourage potential fish investors.
2. The participants realized the attendant effects of climate change on the citizens of the Republic of Chad, a landlocked country in North-central Africa. It was noted that there is a need to put in place several adaptation measures including zero tillage or minimum tillage during crop production, diversification of production, cropping adjustment and planting improved variety in this region to cushion the effects of climate change in the agricultural sector.
3. As part of the measures to address the issue of poaching activity in Kainji Lake National Park and threats to biodiversity in Old Oyo National Park, Nigeria, participants hereby suggested a need for a participatory management approach and establishment of conservation clubs in adjoining communities to the National Parks. This should be complemented with the deployment of high-tech equipment such as drones, Cyber-trackers, SMARTS, Power-chute, GSM in some of our National Parks. Host communities were also advised to practice agroforestry to reduce deforestation which poses a great risk on human health because of the dispersion and relocation of the disease-carrying host such as Anopheles (transmitting Malaria parasites), “multimammate rat” (Mastomys natalensis) ( transmitting Lassa virus) e.t.c. The increasing human contact with the animal host(s), animal tissues, vectors or environmental sources of the pathogens have keenly been responsible for the breakout and spread of these zoonotic diseases in the time past and now.
4. Having realized that waste generation is a non-negligible part of our daily life that is accumulating progressively with human population, urbanization and industrialization, participants therefore, called on canteens and restaurants operators, urban agricultural processors to deplore available, affordable and sustainable urban waste management system. This stakeholder category was enjoined to leverage the benefits of biogas production from food waste and other organic wastes. Construction of digester is considered as improved environmental transformational and innovative technology that would promote green economy. This will go a long way in curbing environmental pollution occasioned by deforestation and erosion which arise from the overuse of natural vegetation as energy sources.
5. The participants opined that the recreational, ecolodges, National Parks and tourism industry remain one of the sectors of the economy that has been greatly affected in the COVID -19 era. The impact was greatly felt on the socio-demographic characteristics and customers’ visitation patterns in Cross-River State and Bristol family fun park, Osogbo. As a measure to address this consequence, a well-built acceptance of the recovery process must be adequately employed and monitored through relevant provisions. Government should endeavor to continually put in place some palliative measures that will be of help to the recreational businesses to get back on track as such included reducing/slashing income tax and other government revenues.
6. After intensive deliberations on the influence of polymer from “pure water” sachet (PWS) waste on the modulus of elasticity (MOE) and modulus of rupture (MOR) of wood polymer composite (WPC) produced from Ceiba petandra sawdust (SD) and PWS, the participants opined that the composites made from them should be used for farm structure flooring and decking since the composites are strong in terms of flexural and compression strength. This will reduce polymer and wood waste commonly found in our immediate environment, thus, eliminating environmental and air pollution; and will also provide a stable income for entrepreneurs who may want to invest in waste recycling and conversion.
7. It was acknowledged that political and administrative factors negatively influenced the development of Idanre Hills as a viable tourist attraction. The participants hereby solicited for government supports and removal of bureaucratic procedures towards the development of Idanre Hills.
8. The participants raised serious concern about the proximity of residential buildings to telecommunication masts. It was on this note that the application of Geographical Information System (GIS) was recommended in proffering solution to telecommunication masts distribution and their locations in Ilorin South Local Government Area, Kwara State, Nigeria.
9. As a result of the social and economic impacts of indiscriminate dumping of wastes on the inhabitants of Akure and Ibadan metropolises, the participants recommended the need to create designated authorised dumpsites in these urban areas.
10. The Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) application in updating the existing topographical map of Oyo Northeast Local Government Area was brought to the fore. The participants agreed that this comes into play in the contemporary era of a high and accelerating rate of changes and expansion of urban centers.
11. Participants agreed that Urban land use planning and control was a veritable tool for the management of urban growth and development in cities as was demonstrated in assessing setback requirements and landscape enrichment items in the South Gate Neighborhood of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), This tool will be more effective where there is stringent enforcement of neighborhood planning and development control regulations by governmental agencies.
12. The participants argued that there was a clear ecotourism market opportunity in Nigeria but bedeviled by lack of appropriate database, poor funding and poor implementation strategy, which has thus affected the development of this sector. Managers of ecotourism were therefore enjoined to explore the inherent potentials of this industry to cushion the effect of COVID-19 on Nigeria’s economy.
13. The participants recognized the nutritive values of *Tamarindus indica* and therefore recommended that further research needed to be undertaken on its industrial, health and medicinal values at species and ecosystem levels.
14. The participants acknowledged the fact that *pyrolysis* is a growing technology to treat tyres to produce valuable oil, char and gas products to decrease energy expenditure, poignant norms of emission, and serve as an alternative solution to depleting fossil fuels and fluctuating costs of the petroleum products. On this note, it was suggested that the tyre pyrolysis system is economically viable
15. The negative effects of COVID-19 on human populations were highlighted and it was concluded that SDGs that were mostly affected directly by the pandemic were *SDGs 3, 8 and 15*. The positive effects such as reduction in annual Carbondioxide (CO2) emissions for 2020 during the lockdown when compared with emissions in 2019 were regarded as being totally circumstantial. Suggestions were made on how to ameliorate the effects of COVID-19 in the post COVID era while stressing the importance of holding dialogues at all levels of government and civil society.
16. The participants agreed that concerted efforts must be directly targeted at achieving *SDGs 1 (end poverty)*, *SDGs 3 (good health & well-being)* and *6 (clean water & sanitation)* *SDG 8 (Decent work and economic growth)*, *12 (sustainable consumption and production patterns)*, *13 (climate action)*, *14 (life below water)* and *15 (life on land)*. Meanwhile, *SDGs 3 (good health & well-being)* and *6 (clean water & sanitation)* were not left out.
The conference came to a close after a deliberation on the progress of the organization and the hosting of the next edition of WECC, 2022.