Nathan Tamarapreye, Yenagoa
Dr Piriye Kiyaramo, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Bayelsa Governor on Tourism has called for an end to the unsustainable consumption and production patterns that jeopardise forests.
He observed that more than 2,000 indigenous cultures and communities depend on the forests for their livelihoods, medicines, fuel, food and shelter.
Kiyaramo made the call on Wednesday while speaking with newsmen at the Ernest Ikoli Press Centre Yenagoa, in commemoration of the 2023 International Day of Forests.
The theme for the 2023 edition is, “Forests and Health.”
Kiyaramo who is a tourism expert recalled that the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed March 21 as the International Day of Forests in 2012 to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests.
He explained that animals and human life, including plants, and built and cultural resources which are worthy of conservation have intrinsic worth when it comes to tourism management.
According to him, the natural environment is a source of attraction to very many people with the development of many metropolitan cities in the world.
He also noted that forests play a crucial role in poverty alleviation as well as in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), lamenting that despite all the priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits of forests, they have become endangered by fires, pests, droughts, and deforestation.
The governor’s aide said: “Our forests give so much to our health, forests purify the water, clean the air, capture carbon to fight climate change, provide food and life-saving medicines, and improve our well-being.
“It is up to us to safeguard these precious natural resources,”.
He appealed to community leaders to redouble their commitments to healthy forest practices to achieve healthier livelihoods, adding that the United Nations General Assembly’s proclamation encourages people to undertake local efforts in organising activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns.
“Though the commitments to halt deforestation have been loud and clear, each year people still degrade and destroy some 10 million hectares of forest. It is time we see tangible and credible action on the ground through public-private partnerships and collaborations among all key stakeholders”, Kiyaramo said.