Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Council Wants National Policy On Environment Reviewed

…Calls for increased funding of the sector

Barr. Sharon Ikeazor
The Minister of State for Environment, Barr. Sharon Ikeazor.

The National Council on Environment (NCE) has demanded that the National Policy on Environment be reviewed and incorporated into emerging environmental issues, including the development of a framework on circular economy.

This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the 15th Meeting of the NCE themed “Appraisal of the emerging environmental challenges and the opportunities in the environment sector: A call for action towards the environment of our dream”, chaired by the Minister of State for Environment, Barr. Sharon Ikeazor, in Abuja.

It noted the abysmally low funding of the environment sector and called for increased funding of the sector and provision of a public-private partnership in view of the increasing emerging environmental challenges and threat to human life and development, saying this is also necessary to ensure completion of the ministry’s on-going projects in different states. These projects are experiencing implementation delays due to poor funding.

The communiqué also noted the emerging challenges of waste/plastic pollution and the quantum opportunities in their management, using the principles/approach of circular economy and urged for the adoption of the principle and development of a national programme, framework and strategy for its implementation in Nigeria.

“The council noted the dangers posed by the indiscriminate spreading of open dumpsites across the country and urged all state governments to close such sites and upgrade those that can be upgraded or establish sanitary-engineered landfill by 2030. States are also urged to adopt approaches in line with the principle of circular economy, green growth and natural capital accounting.

“The council noted the increase in the number of financial memoranda being submitted to the council and urged members to send only policy memos to the council for consideration.

“The council commends the Federal Ministry of Environment for the development and launching of the national policies on Solid Waste Management and Plastic Waste Management and urged the three tiers of government to give full commitment to its implementation,” the communiqué said in part.

Some of the issues the communique raised included the need to address the issue of contaminated mining sites across the country to drastically reduce the adverse impact on the environment and human lives. Thus, it directed the Federal Ministry of Environment to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to commence verification of active and abandoned mining sites and their environment for possible contamination of heavy metals and remediation where appropriate.

It urged states to align with national commitments and develop green projects, in partnership with development partners, to meet obligations to the Paris Agreement. It added that, as a party to the UNFCCC, Nigeria has updated her Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) with additional sectors for implementation towards meeting global greenhouse gas emissions (GHGEs).

 On the siting and development of petroleum products tank farms and other oil and gas facilities across the 36 states of the Federation and in the Federal Capital Territory. It recommended that the states’ planning departments/agencies synergise with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and/or her relevant agencies, as well as the relevant departments/agencies in the Federal Ministry of Environment to forestall further indiscriminate siting of such facilities.

On reclamation of abandoned/closed mine pits, the council urged the Federal Ministry of Environment to synergize with the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development or her relevant department to reclaim such pits across the nation, in line with regulatory standards and to alternate environment- friendly purposes.

It also urged for a more strengthened interaction between states and the Federal Ministry of Environment through virtual meetings and other means to be abreast with the activities of the ministry, particularly projects’ content within the states.

The meeting was attended by 612 participants, including commissioners responsible for environmental matters in the various states and the Federal Capital Territory, permanent secretaries, chief executives of related federal and state ministries and agencies, officials from federal and state ministries and agencies, development partners, non– governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations (CSOs), the academia and members of the press.

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