A policy on climate change for Nigeria is timely and perhaps overdue especially when the leadership position of Nigeria in Africa is considered, experts have said. The conclusion was reached at a crucial workshop on presentation of the draft policy document for validation through the review and finalization of the draft national climate change policy document by experts and stake holders, which took place in Lagos last week.
The specific objectives of the stake holders validation workshop organized by the Environmental safety and awareness initiatives, An NGO as mediating partners with federal ministry of environment special climate change unit to review and adopt a draft national climate change policy documents . Nigeria has many policies that are relevant to climate change such as national environment policy enacted in 1989 and revised in 1999.
However, towards the implementation of a national policy, specific plans which have bearings to climate change policy have been elaborated. They include, drought and desertification, national policy on drought and desertification drought preparedness plan, erosion, flood control and coastal zone management, national sanitation policy, forestry draft national forest policy and biodiversity protection, national biodiversity, strategy and Action plan,(2004).
In addition, experts said there are several other policies and plan mostly sectoral in the areas of energy, Agriculture, land use , industry, water resources, health, transportation, urban Development, among others whose provisions impinge directly on the resolution of issues and problems on climate change and which therefore must viewed as companion policies| implementation plans to national climate change policy.
The validation workshop was also called to present the zero draft policy documents to experts and stake holders; to review and validate the draft policy document with a view to make it more holistic, sustainable and all encompassing; and to finalize deliberations on the draft policy document for climate change for Nigeria.
The workshops participants in a communiqué signed by representative on committee on climate change from National Assembly, Hon. Tajudeen Obasa, and by the permanent secretary, federal ministry of environment, observed that climate change is a critical issues to be dealt with and not a passing fad’’ as currently seems to be the attitude and that this needs to change; and that there was the need for government to develop strategies for the actualization of the policy document on climate change for Nigeria.
The experts thus recommended that necessary step be taken for the integration of suggestion made at the workshop to produce a finalized draft policy document which should be presented expeditiously to the federal executive council for adoption and immediate implementation’’ they argued that there ‘’need to also explore the various means available for financing climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies as well as set targets are imperatives for a successful implementation of policy document; that capacity building on climate change and change -related issues specific in respect to combating hunger, poverty .
Should be taken as adequately captured in the policy document; climate change being a cross cutting issue, there is need for a harmonization of already existing and disparate sectoral policies affecting issues of climate change to give greater , more effective and sustainable focus to the draft policy document on climate change’’.
The workshop acknowledged the commendable efforts in producing the draft policy on climate change with expectations that the observation made at this workshop will be imputed into the final outcome. In an opening address by representative of the minister of environment, Mrs Amina Mohammed, she said, the federal government has taken the challenge of climate change seriously because of its potential impacts on the green environment and the socio economic development efforts.
Amina said as deforestation and land degradation, fresh water shortage, food security and air and water pollution ‘’the threat to these resources call for concerted efforts on the part of stakeholders to make the issues of climate change, a priority in development planning and implementation. Climate change will affect every one’’. He said those already affected by poverty , malnutrition and disease could face displacement and new hardship.
All sectors of socio economic development are vulnerable to climate change. Agriculture and, food security, water resources, public sector and habitat sector are worst hit. Notwithstanding the status of our country, like other developing countries, under the current global climate change negotiation, we must begin to take steps to adapt to the expected impact of climate change.
According to her, there are various spolicies that can address desertification control, forest and ecosystem adaptation, policy options for water resources, agriculture and even the coastal and marine environment that is vulnerable to see rise.
Government, she said recognize the need to put in place a comprehensive strategy that will enable these policies to translate into meaningful inter-sectoral activities for sustainable environmental management with such an approach ‘’ with such an approach , most of these policies will become adaptation option for Nigeria’s response to climate change. ‘’
It is in these regard our ministry commenced efforts at addressing climate change in a responsive and strategic manner guided by a number of national development principle including poverty alleviation, access to basic amenities, job creation, rural development, human resources development and improved health, leading to sustainable economic growth’ ’welcoming participants, the representative of the permanent secretary Mallam Baba Ibrahim said climate change is real, no more uncertainties. The reality has been proved by many scientific evidences. We are here as stakeholders to consult among ourselves and make input for the purpose of reviewing and finalizing the draft national climate policy document’’.