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Nigeria Advises States To Establish Climate Change Department To Avert Environmental Disaster

“…whether you’re doing erosion control, it has to happen at a state owned level.”

All states in Nigeria have been advised to establish a climate change department with the task of regularly report climate action within their state for proper national reporting on issues of climate change and to avert major environmental disaster in the country.

The advice was given by the Minister of State for Environment, Dr. Iziaq Salako during the launch at the weekend in Abuja of the report on “Mapping Climate Change Impact, Policy and Action at the Sub-national level in Nigeria.”

Salako while stating that the Nigerian government is taking measures to address the challenges of climate change in the country, on the project launch revealed that the steps are reflected in Policy, Legal, Institutional Programme, and Projects initiatives.

The Minister explained that the project also provides the opportunity to localize the understanding of climate impacts specific to different regions and to identify the unique challenges faced by different sub-national entities.

He noted that: “This project is crucial for understanding local challenges, formulating effective policies, and coordinating climate action, while facilitating coordination and collaboration among various stakeholders at the sub-national level, it will help tailor-made policymaking and action plans with the specific needs and vulnerabilities of each State.”

Salako said the Ministry of Environment was also taking steps to create awareness of climate action at sub-national levels in Nigeria by ensuring improved climate action and resilience among the 36 states.

He explained that at the Federal level, the setting up of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change has mandated the Federal Ministries, Departments, and Agencies to have Climate Change Desks/Units/Departments to ensure the mainstreaming of climate change in their sectoral development activities and have regular meetings on National Climate Actions.

The President Society for Planet Prosperity, a non governmental organisation in Nigeria, Professor Chukwumerije Okereke, in his remarks during the launch, said that the report will assist states to generate income, access carbon finance and build climate resilience.

He lamented that the level of awareness of climate change in the 36 states across the country is very poor.

Okereke explained that Society for Planet Prosperity has been working with the Federal Minister of Environment, specifically the department for climate change, and the Nigerian governors forum to do a mapping to understand the level of climate awareness in the 36 states of the country including the FCT.

He said: “We also know that the federal government has put in place a number of major institutions and policies for climate action, but you don’t take climate change action at the federal level whether you’re planting forests, whether you’re doing erosion control, it has to happen at a state owned level, etc but everybody knows we do not know the state of climate action in the sub national level this is a major gap that has been present for the past 12 years since action on climate change in Nigeria.

“So we decided to tackle this gap by finding out what states are doing on climate change.” He

He noted that only eight states have climate policies out of the 36 states in Nigeria while 7 have a climate change action plans, while 12 states have captured climate change in their states budget.

He said the report shows that states need to put in action to drive climate change action policy plans, while adding that the report will be forwarded to the states government across the country to help them develop policy and plans on climate change resilience.

Chairman Security and Special Interventions and Climate Change, North East Development Commission, Sam Onuigbo, on his part urged the Governors and the Local Government Chairmen to take the threats posed by climate change very seriously to avert major environmental disaster.

He advised that Governors and the Local Government Chairmen must make adequate budgetary provisions for improved climate change action and resilience.

Onuigbo said: “Mapping Climate Change Impact, Policy and Action in Nigeria’s project aims to map the impact of climate change in the 36 states, and 774 local government areas to analyse the existing policies and actions in these sub-nationals, and identify the support needs of these sub-nationals to effectively domesticate climate change policies to attract climate fund and investments.”

The Niger state Governor, Mr Mohammed Baggo said that the mapping of climate impacts, policy, and actions at the subnational level is crucial in formulating effective strategies to combat climate change.

He said this will allow state governments to understand vulnerabilities, identify areas that require immediate attention, and develop tailored policies and action plans.

The report was launched by a non-governmental organisation in Nigeria, Society for Planet and Prosperity, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.

The report is expected to help citizens, especially states and local governments, understand that climate change is a major developmental challenge facing Nigeria and how to address its impact.

Michael Olugbode in Abuja

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