6th Biodiversity Conservation Conference of the Nigeria Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology, held at University of Uyo, Uyo Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria from 6 to 12 May, 2018
By Fola Babalola
The 2018 Conference of the Nigeria Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology (NSCB) tagged “UYO 2018,” was planned to engage students, young and practicing conservation professionals to discuss and deliberate on potential challenges of conservation in Nigeria. The theme of the conference was “Biodiversity Conservation and National Development: Potential and Challenges”. The conference aimed to identify practical steps in tackling conservation challenges in the country. The goal of the conference was to come up with practical strategies that can foster development of conservation in Nigeria, thereby contributing to national development.
The Opening Ceremony of the conference took place on Tuesday, 7 May. This was held at the 250 Seater TETFUND Auditorium, Main Campus of University of Uyo. About 150 participants from about 47 Institutions from within and outside Nigeria (see list in appendix) attended the conference. For various contributions to conservation in Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria, eight conservational professionals and practitioners were recognized with awards during the Opening Ceremony of the conference.
To expose the participants to practical conservation activities in Akwa Ibom State where the conference was held, a pre-conference field trip was organized to conservation sites. The first site was Mbiakong Community Wildlife Sanctuary; this is the only community-owned wildlife sanctuary that contains rare and endemic flora and fauna biological diversity. The second site was a protected wetland managed by the Centre for Wetlands and Waste Management Studies, University of Uyo; the wetland is a harbor of flora and fauna diversity and serves as a water reservoir, hence protecting the city of Uyo from flooding.
Participation of Conservation Professionals and Practitioners
The 6th Biodiversity Conservation Conference of the Nigeria Chapter of SCB held at University of Uyo was in no doubt a success. The conference recorded participation of conservation professionals and practitioners from close to 50 organisations and institutions from within and outside Nigeria.
A total of 71 papers were accepted and published in the conference proceedings. Out of these papers, about 40 presentations were made at the conference. The scientific papers accepted for presentations were properly reviewed, compiled, published and printed in good quality hard copies. Complimentary copies were given per papers, and copies given to all partners and sponsors. PDF versions of all the published papers have been uploaded on the conference website as Open Access for free downloads.
Certificate of participation was issued to all the participants at the conference; this is valuable for various purposes including official matters.
Networking and Collaboration
The conference has facilitated and initiated unquantifiable number of collaboration among the participants. Quite a number of the participants have made friends and exchanged contacts which are valuable for local, national and international collaboration.
We appreciate all of the Local Organising Committee Members and volunteers, as well as the executive members of the Nigeria Chapter of SCB who gave their valuable time, energy and resources to organizing this conference. Special appreciation goes to University of Uyo, and to all our partners and donors for their support in making this conference a reality. We also appreciate all the participants that came from within and outside of Nigeria.