Climate change: Summit harps on emergency response

THE PUNCH Newspaper- Akinpelu Dada

To effectively tackle the challenges of climate change, which have manifested in different parts of the country, there is a need to substantially build up Nigeria‘s emergency response capabilities.

The nation must also put emphasis on adaptation strategies that are low-tech, particularly those that are targeted at the most vulnerable members of the society.

These were some of the conclusions arrived at by participants at the 2nd Lagos State Climate Change Summit 2010, which held between Tuesday and Friday, and had in attendance six governors, including the host, Mr. Babatunde Fahola; his counterpart from Edo State, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole; Borno State Governor, Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff; and his counterpart from Kaduna State, Alhaji Namadi Sambo; Abia State Governor, Chief Theodore Orji; Dr. Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State and Dr. Babangida Aliyu of Niger State. The Delta State Deputy Governor, Prof. Amos Utuama, stood in for Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan.

The summit attracted over 1,200 participants, including traditional rulers, senior civil servants from the three tiers of government, political office holders and representatives of the private sector, experts in climate change, non-governmental organisations and environmentalists, among others.

In a communiqué issued at the end of the summit, participants urged the federal and state governments to work closely together to implement a strategic approach that included thorough analysis of the nation‘s financial, technological, adaptation, and mitigation needs, as well as institutional requirements to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

It noted that there should be a national inventory of indigenous adaptation technologies that could be improved upon and be made adaptable for use towards tackling the problem of climate change.

The summit also recommended that the federal and state governments must put in place appropriate policies, strategic plans and strong institutions to improve current climate change governance at all levels.

The communiqué read in part, ”Nigeria should explore the business opportunities in the pursuit of a low carbon high growth economy for climate change mitigation and adaptation to diversify its economy and reduce its dependence on oil, including investment in appropriate technology and the promotion of sustainable agriculture.

”Governments at all levels in the country should strategise for the mobilisation of large-scale internal resources to finance mitigation and adaptation initiatives.

”There is need to put together a strong negotiation team for Nigeria with representatives from the states and the civil society to commence preparing the country for the next set of international negotiations, starting with the next Mexico Summit (COP 16).”

Participants urged Lagos State to partner with Mexico City and New York City in developing a climate change plan of action, while also partnering with relevant stakeholders for the collection of meteorological, sea level, tidal, coastal sediment budget, shoreline change, land use and other socio-economic data in order to put climate change scenario modelling, mitigation and adaptation on a sound scientific foundation.

The state was also advised to commission research into possible health-related climate change impacts and focus on health promotion through education and other measures, while its climate change plan of action should take into account sea level rise of over one metre and storm surges of over two metres by 2100.

The communiqué noted, ”Nigeria in general, and Lagos State in particular, should further explore and tap into sources of funding that are available within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change for financing climate change mitigation and adaptation.

”In order to access multilateral and bilateral funding for climate change mitigation and adaptation activities, Lagos State should put effort into scientific costing of its mitigation and adaptation activities.”

The communiqué further said, ”In the context of climate change, the water resources of the state should be managed within an integrated framework in the interest of coverage, quality and service delivery.

“Government should promote broad stakeholder awareness of the need for a low carbon economy and what can be done to transit to green cities, green communities, green landscapes, green industries, green transportation etc.”

The summit also urged the state to recognise, acknowledge and fully value the role of healthy ecosystems in climate change mitigation and adaptation and implement initiatives for their development, maintenance and protection for sustainability.


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