Water is a finite and vulnerable resource, essential to sustain life, development and the environment. However, water scarcity and misuse pose a serious and growing threat to human health, welfare, sustainable development and protection of the environment.
The problem of water availability and safety has been accentuated, especially in poor countries by climate change, environmental degradation, and ecological conflicts. The issue with the water sector in Nigeria is a lack of understanding of the fundamental difference between water as an economic good and water as a public good. There is therefore a need for the effective management of this finite resource to cater for human health and welfare, food security, industrial development and the ecosystems on which they depend.
To do this effectively, there must be a sustainable environment for water management where good policies are complemented with collaboration between the state, private sector and civil societies to provide sustainable quality water solutions. Scalability of water solutions is not possible without an enabling policy environment.
Water solutions will be incomplete without empowering communities and ensuring that technologies for addressing sustainable sanitation and hygiene issues are community-based. Businesses have a central role to play in ensuring sustainable water solutions because if the community does not thrive, businesses do not also thrive. Climate change has become core to business and is no longer a peripheral problem. Businesses need to collaborate with other stakeholders in the society to develop innovations that serve as solutions to local water challenges in the Nigerian society
Speakers at the 2018 Sustainable Development Symposium included:
- David Croft, Global Sustainable Development Director, Diageo Plc
- Dr Uchenna Uzo – MBA Director, Lagos Business School
- Clem Ugorji – Director, Public Affairs and Communications, West, Central Africa and Indian Ocean Islands, The Coca Cola Company
- Dr Ijeoma Nwagwu – Faculty, Strategy and Sustainability, Lagos Business School
- Engr Deji Johnson – Chief Operating Officer, Lagos State Government Water Corporation
- Dr Funmilayo Doherty – Principal Lecturer, Yaba College of Technology
- Lookman Oshodi – Project Director, Arctic Infrastructure
- Dr ChiChi Aniagolu-Okoye – Country Director, WaterAid Nigeria
- Dr Gbenga Fajemirokun – Special Assistant to the Director General, NAFDAC
- Prof Taibat Lawanson – Urban and Regional Planning, University of Lagos
- Dr Bongo Adi – Faculty, Development Economics, Lagos Business School
The symposium recommendations included:
- Strong collaboration and partnership among government, businesses, civil society and communities to provide holistic solutions to water problems to all strata of society.
- Collaboration among local businesses to develop and support innovations that solve water challenges peculiar to the Nigerian environment
- Development of large-scale and workable recycling solutions to solve water challenges in Nigeria