Nigeria is currently at the final stages of the revision of its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) signed in 2015 with 20 per cent unconditional commitment by 2030 and 45 per cent conditional with international support below business-as-usual, to tackle climate change at the 21st session of the Conference of Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris, popularly called the Paris Agreement.
The revised NDC which is an update to the 2015 Paris Agreement target, which has come to the end of its 5-year life cycle and expected to be submitted ahead of COP 26 in Glasgow, further reinforces the country’s commitment towards the global quest to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) emission that complements the several domestic efforts to address climate change. One significant feature of the newly revised target amongst others is the addition of two thematic areas – water and clean cooking – building on the five priority sectors of agriculture, power/energy, transport, oil & gas, and industry.
Ahead of the submission of the final revised/updated NDC, there is a need to prepare relevant stakeholders on what to expect in the new NDC and to seek their inputs into the document.
Sequel to this, the department of climate change under the Federal Ministry of Environment and its partners, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), NDC Partnership and others convened a day stakeholders’ workshop on the NDC revision process for civil society organisations (CSOs) to prepare them on what to expect in the new NDC and to seek their inputs into the document.
In an exclusive chat with Science Nigeria, the executive director of Youth Voyage in Nigeria (YVN), Amb. Richard Umar, said Nigeria could reach and even overshoot its Paris Agreement targets if it developed a pragmatic roadmap which adopts a bottom to top approach to make sure everyone was carried along in the drive to reduce the nation’s GHG.
According to him, apart from partnering with CSOs to engage the grassroots, state ministries should also be adequately equipped and mobilized to go to work on sensitizing those at the state levels on the importance of mitigating the negative effects of climate change.
He said if well equipped, state environment ministries could reach and educate women at the grassroots whose livelihood depends on unsustainable environmental practice of firewood selling for survival.
“The truth of the matter is that CSOs, community-based orgnaisation (CBOs) have a very vital role to play in terms of educating the locals and native dwellers as regards the use of firewood. Actually, if we are going to go by real facts, the natives use a negligible amount of firewood for their own personal cooking than them selling firewood for economic worth.
“But another question is, if you are telling them to stop felling trees because it gives them money, what are you replacing it with. So these are areas where we intend to advise the federal ministry to see how best we can think of alternative source of income within the green economic circle so they can have other alternatives.
“For instance, instead of felling trees they can venture into briquette manufacturing so that women in local communities can come together and use organic waste and manage them and change them into briquettes which now replaces charcoal and firewood and also be another source of income for these women,” he said.
He also called for a coordinated working tool to ensure continuity of climate change projects, adding successive governments often abandon laudable projects of previous governments because there are no policies to enforce continuity.
“For instance, if the previous government had passion for environment, this one might have passion for health or education and then they forget about environment. So, this is a challenge, I think we really need to sit down and have a coordinated working tool.
“I know the states meet at the national council for environment and they need to be more committed in ensuring that states participate practically on ground for that will really help, because if you calculate our landmass and our 36 states and the FCT, if we can have a workable tool, the contribution from each state will go a long way in contributing to Nigeria’s collective NDC cut and we can even overshoot our target if we have a working tool from the local, state and federal governments,” he added.
The executive director, Gender and Environmental Risk Reduction Initiative (GERI), Elizabeth Jeiyol, commended the Nigerian government for the consistent efforts at ensuring that climate change issues are given attention and are mainstreamed around the nation, on other national developmental frameworks and roadmap.
She pointed out that CSOs are a key partner in ensuring the issues of climate change are given attention because they are the ones at the community level, who facilitate and monitor implementations and drive/mobilise resources for the implementation of programmes at that level.
Saying CSOs can be better engaged through several processes, Jeiyol suggested they should also be carried along in all the other implementation activities beyond just engaging in the review of the NDCs.
She highlighted lack of finance as one of the key issues constraining the CSOs from effective participation in the process, saying, often times, a lot of them with their noble initiatives and good programmes at the community level were not sustained because of lack of finance.
“CSOs are looking forward to government’s bringing up a strategy that could ensure that CSOs are supported beyond the international development partners and UN agencies to ensure they sustain their actions, engagements with communities at the grassroots and national level to ensure that efforts of the country towards climate change issues as a development agenda are actually articulated and implemented throughout the country for effective development of the communities first, then the subnational levels and states,” she added.
Giving the rationale for the meeting, the national coordinator of the Nigeria UNDP NDC Support Programme, Mr Huzi Mshelia, explained that all the NDC revision process and even the implementation was anchored on the whole society approach meaning everybody within the society, nobody was meant to be left behind.
He stated that in revising the NDCs, the department under the ministry had been having series of consultations with various key players and stakeholders in the area of climate change, pointing out that the consultations with the CSOs was to intimate them on priority areas of the NDCs and the roles expected of them in its implementation.
“Actually, this is where their work starts as much as possible because they have contact with the communities, they have already been operating within these places in their various thematic areas and since the NDCs have been expanded into seven, we believe there’s enough space for them within those areas for them to actually work,” he said.
The work of CSOs, according to Mshelia, includes holding government accountable hence they are being encouraged to do that to ensure that whatever targets or measures the government set to do in the NDC are done and they keep track of it and also get feedback from government.
“So, it is not only for them to make inputs now because the documents have not been finally submitted, we still have one national validation that will take place so whatever draft that is produced will still be submitted to this validation and of course the space is still open and of course we also expect that in the implementation they will play a much bigger role,” he added.