Climate change is today widely recognized as one of mankind's greatest challenges in the 21st Century. Left unchecked, its effects will seriously harm economies, societies and ecosystems all around the world, especially in developing countries. In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on climate change (IPCC), the leading body to review climate change science, published its 4th Assessment Report. The report gave a clear signal that climate change is happening and accelerating, that much of it is caused by the continued emission of greenhouse gases from human activities and that it can have severe impacts. International conferences like the Bali Climate Change Conference and the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, addressed these issues.
In furtherance of its determination to bring contemporary issues to public discuss and arrive at practical recommendations that will move the nation forward, the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, through its O.C.J. Okocha Centre for Environmental Law, held a one day Roundtable on Adaptation and Climate Change: Capturing Essential Synergies for Nigeria (Post-Copenhagen).
The Roundtable made the following observations:
1. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Africa is the most vulnerable continent to climate change and climate variability and observed the following:
a) It is estimated that 72% of the dwellers in African cities live in slums (poor drainage/prone to flooding/ill health);
b) Over 25% of Africa's population lives along a 100km long coastal strip (East African coastline, the Red Sea and the West African coast);
c) A Sea-level rise of 0.5m as projected by the IPCC by mid-century could result in losses equivalent to more than 10% of the current GDP of affected countries;
d) Wide spread poverty is a dominant structural vulnerability;
e) The spread of malaria and other infectious diseases will put women, infants, and children at greater risk.
2. Nigeria does not have a climate change policy and legislation. What exists in Nigeria is climate change measures pursued within the context of National Policy on Environment. Other measures (National Communications) are in compliance with obligations under the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protoco
3. National Communications are requirement under the UNFCCC (Art.4 and 12). Nigerian First National Communications was in 2003 and it set out actions to be undertaken. Most of the plans have not been fully implemented, principally for governance reasons.
4. Gaps in current mitigation and adaptation strategies, include:
a) Absence of a unified strategic vision and approach;
b) Lack of understanding of the challenges at all levels of government;
c) Lack of comprehensive and localized risk and vulnerability assessments;
d) Absence of coherent research programs to identify and describe impacts associated with near-term, long-term, and abrupt global climate change;
e) Absence of organized and coordinated efforts across Local, State and Federal agencies;
f) Absence of relevant climate change and impact information that is accessible and usable by decision makers and practitioners;
g) Absence of strong links between, and support and participation of indigenous communities, State, and other local partners;
h) Lack of focused strategy to link resources, both financial and intellectual, to critical needs;
i) Absence of a strategy for evaluating and applying lessons learned.
5. Current National Situation/efforts include:
a) National Adaptation Strategy and Plan of Action (NASPA) collaborative action initiated by NEST (still in process). b) A PPP initiative comprising the NEST, Henrich Boell Foundation, UNDP, Federal Ministry of Environment.
c) NESPA will be Nigeria's plan for responding to CC impacts and reducing negatives impacts on the lives of vulnerable people. d) Presidential Re-forestation and Afforestation Programme.
e) Green Wall Sahara Project
f) House of Representatives Committee on Climate Change initiative for a National Climate Change Policy and Legislation. g) Federal Ministry of Environment's call for Memorandum for National CC Policy and National Response Strategy.
National Assembly Bill for the establishment of a National Climate Change Commission.
6. Some critical issues concerning climate change that require governance include:
a. Energy, Forestry, Agriculture/food, Health, Peace and Security, Economy/Finance, Carbon market, Population, Urbanization and Water Stress
7. The Federal Ministry of Environment is the Focal Point to the Convention and the Protocol. A Special Climate Change Unit of the Ministry is the implementing body and is charged among other responsibilities, with: Implementing all commitments under the agreements, representing the country in international negotiations, formulating policies and strategies for combating Climate Change, undertaking studies and researches, through consultancies in the science of climate change, education and public awareness programs.
8. Other Government Agencies Dealing with Climate Change include: National Assembly (relevant Committees); Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET); Presidential Implementation Committee on Clean Development Mechanism (PIC-CDM); National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA); Office of the Special Assistant to the President on International Affairs; Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change (IMCC); National Coordinating Committee on Climate Change (NCCC), Climate Change Centre's of Excellencies; Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC);Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Science & Tech etc.
9. Changes in the climate can place different burdens on men and women because of existing gender influences i.e. socially and culturally constructed roles, interest and division of labour. The vulnerability of women and men are different due to differences in how they are affected by climate change and differences in their adaptive capacities.
At the end of the Roundtable, the following recommendations were made:
1. The strategy to pursue a low carbon economy is imperative, and they include:
a. A reform of our infrastructure development to “climate proof” our infrastructure.
b. A review of our public procurement regulations to ensure clean technologies procurement c. Our energy sector development is critical to combating climate change.
d. We have to develop clean energy.
e. It is important to conclude international negotiations, which is critical for additional source of financing Climate Change measures.
f. It is essential to Stitch up initiatives under the WTO, MEF, G8, G20 and other UN Focal points like the UNCSD, UNCBD, UNCCCD, WMO etc. g. Develop Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA).
h. Strengthen the PIB to ensure monitoring and verification of GHG reductions in the petroleum industry.
2. Comprehensive national climate change policy is imperative.
3. Massive investments in capacity building, knowledge generation and information management.
4. Define leadership (strong national institution) with coordinated strategy, based on a national agenda and supported by effective funding framework.
5. NCCC Bill to be harmonized.
6. Building multi stakeholders approaches.
7. Linking domestic actions with regional and global network. Following up the international negotiations and defining Nigeria's position with relationship to the Copenhagen Accord etc.
8. Adopting a green strategy in pursuit of a low carbon economy.
9. Climate change solutions are market driven: (carbon, water and biodiversity markets) therefore appropriate legal framework must be put in place.
10. A national strategy for climate change adaptation is imperative, and would engross:
a. Institutional changes that will integrate science into the decision-making process to improve information about risks and opportunities;
b. Enhanced communication and capacity building among relevant stakeholders;
c. Clear process of coordination and facilitation of collaboration;
d. Identify priorities for a coordinated government response;
e. A flexible framework that will enable government agencies and entities to understand, analyze and respond to climate change;
f. A commitment to dynamic engagement, iterative understanding of results, and rigorous evaluation.
12. Sharpen the connection between project activities and climate variability and Change.
14. Enhance support for, and fine-tune, successful actions for adaptation and mitigation.
15. Strengthen monitoring, reporting on main streaming climate change and strengthen support to policy and institutional reform interventions related to climate change.
16. Mainstream gender analysis into climate change strategies. To this end:
a. Nigeria's NAPA must not only recognize the need for gender analysis, it must identify poverty as a core problem and women as a target group. b. A gender sensitize problem analysis must be done with a long term strategies to translate the result of the analysis into sectoral strategies.
c. NAPA must set an agenda for a broad participatory process involving local groups of stakeholders which must be a balance of both sexes. d. gender experts must be identified as key stakeholders and allowed to play an active role in adaptation planning and monitoring.
17. Nigeria must come out prepared with a position for presentation at the up coming Mexico U.N Climate Conference of the Worlds environmental
8th June, 2010.
Professor Epiphany Azinge, SAN