The African Regional Institute for Geospatial Information Science and Technology (AFRIGIST) in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Osun State plans to tackle environmental management and sustainable socioeconomic development in Nigeria. At the occasion, Minister for Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, drew the attention of the management to disciplines that will promote food security, regional integration, population matters, and control of natural disasters such as desertification, drought, floods and erosion. The minister explained that these are the specialized fields of geospatial information science and technology integrating photogrammetry and remote sensing, geographic information science (GIS) and cartography.
In other words, the institute is concerned with the management of the interaction and impact of human societies on the environment. It is not the management of the environment itself as the phrase, “environmental management,” may suggest. Environmental resource management aims to ensure that ecosystem services are protected and maintained for the future generations. The institute is also concerned with the process of social and economic development in Nigeria. This is measured with indicators, such as gross domestic product (GDP), life expectancy, literacy and levels of employment.
AFRIGIST’s activities have impacted Nigeria’s agricultural production.
Fashola revealed at the event that the activities of AFRIGIST have positively impacted on member states. They have particularly helped in Nigeria’s efforts towards addressing problems of agricultural production, monitoring and protection of the environment, as well as exploration and exploitation of oil and solid minerals. To achieve this, the minister said that the institute has trained manpower for 27 member states. This includes Nigeria’s establishments, such as the Survey Department of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, the National Population Commission, and the National Planning Commission.
Other Nigerian establishments include the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), the Nigerian Armed Forces, the universities and the polytechnics. The minister stated that the institute has offered training in short-term courses for technicians, technologists and postgraduates in geospatial fields, as well as its portfolio of innovative geospatial information science and technology for the past 50 years. The Nigerian government has offered unalloyed commitment to the development of various infrastructures, having realized its essential role in critical manpower development and capacity building in Africa.
Environmental management helps with future prediction.
Environmental resource management helps us to identify the factors that may lead to environmental degradation. It also helps in predictions that might affect the lives of the present and future generations. Its main aim is to maintain and improve environmental resources, such as air, soil, forests, water, fuels, etc. Its main aim is to minimize waste. Regarding this, sustainability is an inevitable issue. It involves managing economic, social, and ecological systems within and outside an organization so that it can sustain itself.
Sustainability implies that rather than competing for endless growth on a finite planet, development improves quality of life without necessarily consuming more resources. It requires organizational change that instills sustainability values that portrays these values outwardly from all levels and reinforces them, to surround stakeholders. To achieve sustainability development with environmental resource management, an organization should work within sustainability principles, including social and environmental accountability, long-term planning, strong and shared vision, and more.
Management tools are required to reduce environmental impact.
Just as with all management functions, effective management tools, standards and systems are required. An environmental management standard or system attempts to reduce environmental impact as measured by some objective criteria. The most widely used standard for environment risk management is the ISO 14001. It is closely aligned to the European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS). As a common standard, the ISO 19011 standard explains how to combine this with quality management. Other environmental management systems (EMS) tend to be based on the ISO 14001 standard.