By Grace Alegba
Lagos – Mrs Solape Hammond, Lagos State Special Adviser on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Investment has assured that the state government would address poverty, unemployment and other issues affecting residents.
Hammond gave this assurance at the 2020 conference on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa on Thursday at the University of Lagos.
She said that the Lagos State government was fully committed to achieving this goals by partnering other ministries, civil society, local and international orgarnisations.
“The Lagos State government, and by extension, Nigeria and Africa have particular areas that require urgent attention in the Sustainable Development Goals that outweighs some others.
“These focus areas are poverty, hunger, unemployment, health, sanitation and industrialization.
“Therefore, the 17 goals especially the ones directly relating to those focus areas are growth marks, ensuring prosperity and better standard of living of our people.
“To achieve these goals, we are partnering other ministries, civil society, local and international organisations.
“One of such partnering is the women 2030 project which is being implemented in 52 countries of the world across Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America regions.
“It’s a five-year strategy signed agreement with an aim to strengthen the network among women, to realize sustainable development goals.
“United Nations programme is another partner that has been working effortlessly in Nigeria to achieve the global goals”, she said.
Listing national and state SDG achievements so far, she said the department has integrated the SDG into economic reform and growth plan.
She added that the state governor enhanced the scope of SDG by coming up with a new office called the office of Sustainable Developmental Goals and investments.
While speaking on the environment, she revealed that the Lagos State government plans to plant 10, 000 trees at the end of 2030.
She said despite the achievements so far, actualizing the SDGs by 2030 does not come without its challenges which include limited financial investments for SDG related activities, humanitarian crises in the North East, militancy in the Niger Delta, among others.
On the way forward, she said: “in order for Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole to actualize the global goals, partnership participation will be maximized with fullest potential.
“Nigeria will continue to work with partners like MVP and other functional partners, as well as New Ford Alliances.
“The baseline study will be continued to be updated annually to reflect current situations and changing trends in the country.
“We plan to achieve SDGs through partnership with government, private sector and civil society alike, to make sure we leave a better planning for future generations.
“Therefore Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole will not relent on its effort at partnering with others towards achieving the SDGs by 2030.”
Presenting a paper titled: “2030 agenda and the challenge of rapid urbanization in Africa”, Paul Okunlola of UN Habitat, Abuja noted that over population among others were problems emanating from rapid urbanization.
“Today, 56 percent of the world’s population lives in cities and urban settlements, with over two-thirds of total population expected to be living in cities in the next 10 years (2030).
“Emerging mega trends show us that some Transitions, notably Urbanization have become one of the defining features of the 21st Century”
He said the world has woken up to the need for a shared understanding of our common problems and how to solve them, adding that failure to act collectively in Africa would ultimately lead to collective failure to derive the benefits of urbanization.
Speaking on the challenges of rapid urbanisation, Okunlola noted that urbanisation growth rates have led to the increase in the number of people living in slums.
“Between year 2000 and 2016, due to various reasons including population growth and migration, the number of people living in slums increased drastically.
“Unfortunately, the population of people living in slums will continue to increase if nothing is done about it, and we know that is not a good trend health wise among other problems this could incur”, he said.
Also, Mr Kunle Awobodu, President, Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) urged government, experts and students to deliberate on how to make the environment of products sustainable.
He also urged experts and students in the Environmental Sciences Department to do more research and come up with ways of replacing building materials such as brick and cement which he said are scarce to other materials for building.
Citing the instance of a medical practitioner who excelled in the building department due to his creativity, Awobudu urged the students to pursue academic excellence and become creative with resources available to them.
“As students, you are being tutored to excel in your academics, you must pursue and enhance your academic excellence, you must carry out research on areas of creativity and develop products that can sustain the society, even the world at large”, he said.
He assured that his tenure as the president of NIOB would concentrate on research on how to recycle waste from building materials to useful products in building.
“We are going to solve problems of polluting the environment with waste from our materials, sawdust for instance can be recycled and used for ceiling and so on. My tenure as the building president will be centered on research and sustaining the environment”, he said.