It is five years after the Paris Agreement on Climate Change was adopted by 196 parties (countries) at the Conference of Parties (COP) 21 in Paris of which Nigeria is a signatory.
Since then, there have been calls by state and non- state actors for Nigeria to undertake more ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.
According to the United Nations Climate Change publication of 2020, the COP is the supreme decision making body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
All states that are parties to the Convention are represented at the COP.
A key task for the COP is to review the national communications and emission inventories submitted by parties.
Based on this information, the COP assesses the effects of the measures taken by parties and the progress made in achieving the ultimate objective of the Convention.
According to the UN publication, the Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change.
As earlier stated, it was adopted by 196 parties at COP21 in Paris, on Dec. 12, 2015 but entered into force on Nov. 4, 2016.
The goal of the agreement is to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The Paris Agreement works on a five – year cycle of increasingly ambitious climate action carried out by countries.
By the end of 2020, countries are expected to have submitted their plans for climate action known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
In their NDCs, countries communicate actions they will take to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in order to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Countries also communicate in the NDCs actions they will take to build resilience to adapt to the impacts of rising temperatures.
Though some efforts have been made by the Federal Government of Nigeria, in her NDCs, through the Ministry of Environment, in collaboration with non-state actors; calls have been made for more ambitious action.
Prof. Nasiru Idris, Dean, Faculty of Environmental Science, Nasarawa State University, says that since the Paris Agreement in 2015, there have been quite a number of efforts on the side of the Nigerian Government.
Idris said the country submitted its NDCs to the UNFCCC on May 15, 2017 while its Biennial Update Report was also submitted on March 17, 2018 while Nigeria’s Third National Communication on climate change is in progress.
According to him, the creation of a National Communication offers countries the opportunity to contribute with technically sound studies and information.
Idris notes that studies and information can then be used for designing mitigation and adaptation measures, as well as project proposals that can and will help increase their resilience to the impacts of climate change.
He says the Nigerian government has also made significant effort in the area of National Circumstances, National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, Mitigation Assessment, Vulnerability and Adaptation, among others.
The don underscores the need to strengthen Nigeria’s institutional capacities to develop long – term climate – resilient development strategies across sectors.
He says having access to pertinent data, information and decision making tools will be critical to reduce the potential damages from climate change.
At a recent event to mark the 5th Anniversary of the Paris Agreement, the Minister of Environment, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, said the Federal Government was providing policies and initiatives aimed at implementing the agreement to address climate change and other environmental issues in the country.
Abubakar said these policies and initiatives included financing green projects across the nation in various sectors of the economy.
He added that the government was also engaging in afforestation programmes aimed at establishment of forests and planting of trees in order to avoid degradation of land.
According to the minister, in achieving the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs), the government is collaborating with relevant stakeholders and the government of France for more effective implementation of the programmes.
Hajiya Halima Bawa-Bwari, Acting Director, Department of Climate Change in the ministry, said during the Post COP25 National Consultative Workshop recently held in Abuja, that the Ministry was already engaging various stakeholders, including MDAs, state and non-state actors as well as development partners.
Bawa – Bwari said that the Ministry had also established climate change desks in all the states and the FCT, in partnership with development partners.
“We need to know what the people at the local levels are doing to ensure climate resilience. So we have given the desk officers a template to feed in mitigation actions happening in all the states.
“The department also engages through regular sensitisation programmes, which include trainings and workshops in the six geo – political zones as well as engaging with the private and public sectors to raise awareness on climate change and the NDCs,” she said.
Bawa-Bwari said the national policy on climate change and NDCs were being reviewed, adding that a sectoral plan for its implementation had been developed.
Non – state actors such as civil society organisations (CSOs) have also not been resting on their oars as they continue to engage state actors in ensuring Nigeria implements policies aimed at achieving the Paris Agreement.
Dr Ibrahim Choji, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Climate Sustainable Development Network (CSDevNet) says more than ever, ambitious action is urgently needed to address the global climate crisis and keep global temperature increases in check.
According to Choji, five years after the adoption of the Paris Agreement, 2020 is a key milestone for countries to enhance their NDCs to the Paris Agreement.
He says they can do this by going beyond current national climate plans and bringing the planet closer to the climate treaty’s goals of de-carbonising economies and improving resilience.
Choji gave a summary of what the Nigerian Civil Society has been able to achieve so far within five years of the adoption of the Paris Agreement.
“We have succeeded in establishing the platform and mechanism for monitoring and evaluating NDCs implementation in Nigeria, enhance mitigation and adaptation components of the NDCs, as well as communicating the NDCs.
“Additionally, aligning Nigeria’s NDCs with SDGs and the role of finance and multi-stakeholder such as policy makers, academics, media, civil society and community-based organisation and the private sector.
“Also, collaboration in NDCs enhancement and achievement are veritable and vital pointers to the way forward,” he said.
Choji says that to facilitate a climate – resilient and sustainable Nigeria, CSDevNet is successfully implementing varieties of projects with the support of Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, through Swedish International Development Agency.
He says the projects are aimed at deepening Nigerian civil society’s engagement in post-Paris climate change dialogue and response strategies.
Choji notes that the dialogue and strategies traverse direct programming and research, policy and advocacy, sub-granting and capacity building, but mainly focus on the most vulnerable groups that are unreachable in traditional development paradigms.
“Furthermore, the project engenders and strengthens the involvement of the civil society in the implementation of the Paris Agreement, and the SDGs.
“This is via effective monitoring and evaluation of Nigeria’s NDCs and creating linkage with governments and the Environment Directorate of the Economic Community of West African states,” he said.
Choji says that joint studies have been developed, produced and disseminated with research institutes to influence national, sub-regional and regional policies, plans and programmes by evidence-based CSOs narratives, policy analyses and advice.
“We have carried out joint study with the Federal University of Petroleum, Effurun to examine the compliance practice to implementation of the Paris Agreement on reducing greenhouse emission on oil and gas for 2018/2019 in Nigeria.
“Equally, a joint study on analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on the Implementation of NDCs in African Countries: A Case Study of eight countries in Africa, with University of Glasgow and the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Ikwo Ebonyi State, is currently ongoing,” he announced.
Choji said other projects included its programme aimed at supporting over 20 Nigerian youth, women and marginalised groups known as Young Digital Activitists (YDAs) and Community Resource Persons (CRPs).
He says this is a bottom-up approach and social media led-initiative for youth participation in climate change and SDGs dialogue processes communication.
“Through this programme we were able to give a voice to the vulnerable and those at the grassroot.
“The voice will enable them to positively influence public laws, policies and practices in the context of climate justice, poverty reduction and foster partnership in addressing developmental issues in Nigeria and on the African continent,” Choji said.
He disclosed that CSDevNet/PACJA partnered with its members in the South-South zone.
Choji said this was to scale up nature-based solutions for mitigation, resilience and adaptation through mangrove restoration and planting of trees for combating erosion and land degradation in Cross River estuary.
Youth Group Faults Protest Against HYPREP
Following the protest that rock the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP)last Monday by some youth groups in Ogoniland calling for the dissolution of the governing board of the agency,s more groups in the area said the call is not necessary, as it was aimed at querying the pedigree of the Project Cordinator, Prof Neniibarini Zabbey.
In an interview with journalists, the Bodo City Youth Federation led by Joseph Lenu and his executive members said they condems in strong terms the protest led by the President Generalof Ogoni Youth Federation, Mr. Lagborsi Yaamabaana.
Group further warned that the youths would not take it kindly with any groups or individuals that want to undermine the peace and security of Ogoni land at this critical time noting that the organiser of the said Protest should tender an apology to the project coordinator and the Ogoni youths.
Group Distances Self From HYPREP Protest
A concerned group under the auspices of Ogoni General Youth Assembly, has distanced itself from the protest organised by Mr. Legbosi Yaamabaana against the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) last Monday.
The President of the group, Comrade BarinekaTornwe in a statement said the Protest led by Yaamabaana was against the best interest of the Ogonis and would not yield any positive result.
According to him, Yaamabaana, a HYPREP contractor himself, would only be using the sweat and blood of Ogoni youths to push for more expensive contracts”, adding that the said youth leader “Yaamabaan is always on self-enrichment mode and never for the over-all good interest of the Ogoni youths”
Tornwe therefore enjoined all Ogoni youths to avoid him and rather support HYPREP to execute its core mandate of providing alternative source of livelihood to Ogonis through skills training for women and youths.
It would be recalled that recently, HYPREP concluded another training for 3,000 Ogoni youths and women in various empowernment skills, and pledged not to relent its effort in the interest of the people of Ogoni.
The president of the group, further alleged that “It is Yaamabaana’s plan to hijack the central youth training programme from HYPREP and run it a contractor”.
Tornwe however commended HYPREP for what it has done so far on the execution of its mandate, and appealed that it should stay focused on its assignment and not to allow treacherous persons to sway it into the wrong way.
Minister Tasks RSG On Open Defecation
The Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof Joseph Terlummum Utsev has called on the Rivers State Government to fulfill it own agreement of ending open defecation by the year 2030.
Prof. Utsev stated this in Port Harcourt during a familiarisation tour to the Niger Delta Basin Authority (NDBA) facilities and projects in the State,
He said eradicating open defecation will improve hygiene, sanitation and health standard of the people.
The Minister explained that the visit was aimed at assessing infrastructure, programmes of the authority required to meet the agenda of President Bola Tinubu in ensuring a better society.
He said toilets must be constructed at motor parks with a view to enthroning hygiene.
“To end open defecation and enthrone hygiene, we need to construct toilets at the motor parks, hospitals, schools and public places to ensure the objective is achieved. So, the Rivers State Government needs to come on board.
“There is a need for us to build synergy between the three tiers of government to ensure that this is achieved.” he said.
The Minister also explained that access to potable water is part of the mandate of the Ministry, and assured that it will be delivered.
. “We are targeting about 500 hectares of land across the country under irrigation. We cannot succeed without completing all our dams that are under construction, ensuring we complete the projects.
“We will engage state governments in allocation of lands, while we provide water for irrigation, the government is supposed to give the Certificate of Occupancy to ensure that the land belongs to the farmers to avoid any issue with the farmers,” he said.
“The government is serious about improving the lives of Nigerians, ensuring food security, wealth creation and youth empowerment”
“Some projects that will drive this have been completed, while some are ongoing, we are determined to complete more projects and initiate new ones.”
It would be recalled that Nigeria currently sits at the top as far as open defecation was concerned.
The country took over from India.
It would also be noted that out of the 36 States in the country, only Jigawa State is open defecation free.
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