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Unical VC tasks stakeholders to create awareness on Ecosystem preservation

Prof. Zana Akpagu, Vice Chancellor, University of Calabar.

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Prof. Zana Akpagu, has called on stakeholders to create awareness on the preservation and conservation of the ecosystem, since human life is dependent on the environment.

Prof. Akpagu made the call at a one- day seminar on the topic: Mundus Maris; A global Ocean Conservation Network; its Principles, Guidelines and Operation,” held at the University of Calabar Senate Chamber.

The Vice Chancellor said massive sensitization campaigns and awareness creation on the preservation of the ecosystem was necessary due to its strategic importance to human existence, saying that the ocean, with its rich potentials should be given top priority.

He enumerated the importance of the ocean to include:  provision of food, jobs, energy, mineral resources, transport and recreation, that depends on the ocean as an integral part of our life support system.

He also stated that the ocean, gives us a sense of beauty and space that enriches our culture and the society.

The University helmsman also stressed that fisheries, aquaculture, and Marine culture provides livelihood and protein sources to over 800 million people.

Prof. Zana Akpagu used the occasion to implore scientists, students and lovers of ocean environment to contribute objectively and chart a new course of action and establish a robust collaboration in ocean governance and sustainability.

Also speaking, the Dean, Faculty of Oceanography, Prof. Albert Ekanem said everyone in the world is connected to the Ocean, which is a source of livelihood, and also produces oxygen for human sustainability.

Prof. Ekanem said the seminar will afford participants the opportunity to unlock the complex nature of the ocean and its rich potentials which is important to human existence.

In a lecture on the topic:” Mundus Maris; A global Ocean Conservation Network; its Principles, Guidelines and Operation,” the Vice President and Executive Secretary of Mundus Maris in the United Kingdom, Prof. Stella Williams said Mundus Maris provides scientific and relevant indigenous knowledge and encourage eristic expression of the sea to promote its restoration, conservation and sustainable use in understanding aquatic ecosystems and cultural diversity.

Prof. Williams disclosed the vision and mission of Mundus Maris to include:  investing in people, connecting to the ocean, building bridges between the global agenda and local work experiences.

The lecturer, who is also an Agricultural Economist  said Mundus Maris has been organizing  activities to promote conservation, and sustainable use of ocean literacy with focus on young people and support to the people of the sea, and the diversity of their marine cultures.

Prof. Williams stated that several whistle stop tour activities have been conducted including a painting contest tagged Arts for Guns in 2010, and conferences were held in Brussels, Belgium, New York and UK,followed by a larger conference in Senegal and Gambia in 2012, which focused on working on teaching aids about ecosystem approach for fisheries.

She said that in 2013 UPPSALA, Sweden, organized an International workshop, and in 2014 conducted a remote teaching at UPPSALA University which focused on sustainability research.
In 2015, it organized World Oceans Day and handed Honorary Diplomas to Akure based participants.

Prof. Williams disclosed that in a 2016  festival called Green me sustainability Film Festival’, Lagos,  Mundus Maris helped with publicity, and organizational support, and in  2017 there was more clean ups after the World Oceans Day and in 2018 declared World Oceans Day as  a regular agenda item.

On his part, the Coordinator of Macorn, Unical, Prof. Francis Asuquo said Marine Atmosphere and Coastal Ocean Research Network (MACORN) is an International Research, Network, created by the Faculty and has, as its Motto,” Ocean conservation and sustainability”.

Prof. Asuquo stated its objectives to include; monitoring and surveillance of coastal and open ocean degradation and contamination, engaging in ocean literacy campaigns, participating in world ocean symposia and establishment marine observatory.

Others include: engaging in ocean and conservation and sustainability programmes worldwide, as well collaborating with their researches across the globe on multidisciplinary research.
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