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African institutions must develop plan for sustainable development
 
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28-Sep-2009  
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The Pro-Vice Chancellor and Chairman of Council of the Usun State University in Nigeria, Professor Peter Okebukola, on Monday tasked African institutions to develop a strategic plan to foster the culture of sustainable environmental development through practice.

He expressed worry that several communiqués from conferences on the environment have been shelved, adding, there was the need to move from “talk to action,” in order to address the resultant challenges of poverty, illiteracy and corruption that impeded sustainable development.

Prof. Okebukola made the call at the opening of the ‘First Joint International Conference on Culture, Science and Sustainable Development in Africa,” held at the University of Cape Coast (UCC).

The three-day conference, organised by the UCC and the University of Ilorin, Nigeria, is being attended by lecturers and scientists from Nigeria, Ghana, Benin and Togo.

It is aimed at fostering South-South cooperation in sharing knowledge on issues of the environment and sustainable development.

Prof Okebukola described as “serious,” the present state of global warming and its effects on plants and animals and projected that human beings would become extinct in the next 200,000 years if the trend continued.

“The activities of mankind are gradually killing the planet and Africa is particularly vulnerable because such environmental problems would increase diseases such as cancers, hunger and poverty,” he said.

He therefore called on education authorities to review school curricula to strengthen the delivery of environmental education and incorporate environmental messages in all subjects to help sensitize the youth on sound environmental practices.

“Every teacher, no matter the subject he/she teaches, should rub in environmental messages,” he said and suggested the establishment of a “Centre for Sustainable Development,” to serve as an advocacy institution on environmental issues.

The universities, he said, should also institute a Vice-Chancellor’s prize for the best “environmental friendly faculty,” where faculties which practiced good sanitation would be awarded as part of measures to save the continent’s environment from further destruction.

Professor Is-shak Oloyede, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin and President of the Association of African Universities (AAU), said it was time Africans looked inward and revived that part of their cultures that contributed to the sustenance of their environment and solve problems peculiar to them.

He said to achieve sustainable development in Africa there was the need for a South-South cooperation, adding that the collaboration between the two universities was a “giant leap in the right direction.”

He encouraged students in Ghana and Nigeria to study each other’s history.

Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, Vice-Chancellor of the UCC, in her welcoming address, noted that the South-South cooperation was very important for the development of both countries and that Africa’s problems could be better addressed if research institutions came together to share ideas and found practical solutions to them.

Nana Prah Agyensaim VI, Omanhene of Owerenkyiman Traditional Area, who opened the conference, urged African Universities to partner traditional rulers to find solutions to such issues due to the significant role they played in ensuring the sustainability of the environment.

Reverend Professor Emmanuel Adow Obeng, immediate past Vice-Chancellor of the UCC, who chaired the function, said the universe was under threat due to the activities of mankind.

He described the collaboration between the UCC and Ilorin University as very relevant, and which must be sustained.

Issues being discussed include; “Crafting a Sustainable Approach to the Development of Science and Technology in sub-Saharan Africa,” “Indigenous knowledge,” and “Culture and sustainable Development”.
 
 
 
 
 

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