The Director, Centre for Climate Change and Development (CCCD) of the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu Alike (AEFUNAI), Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke, has promised to partner with youth led climate change and environmental organisations to conduct massive climate education programmes that would touch every part of the country for the next five years.
Prof. Okereke made the statement on Saturday, March 19, 2022, while delivering a keynote speech titled “Beyond COP26: Global Climate effort, Nigeria’s implementation readiness, and implications for the youth” during a one-day Nigeria Youth Post COP26 Conference for South-East Geo-political zone of Nigeria organised by Global Environmental and Climate Conservation Initiative (GECCI) in collaboration with United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, CCCD AEFUNAI, and Society for Planet and Prosperity (SPP).
According to him, the Centre would provide part of the resources, intelligence and capacity to design such project, even as he called on the organisers to work with other organisations to come up with suggestions on how the programme can become a reality.
He noted that the youth possess the needed energy and capacity to drive the campaign for the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), Climate Change Act and other Long term vision policies enacted by the Nigerian government, stressing that the young people who still have a number of years would bear the brunt of the climate change in the future if nothing is done to ensure that the government intentionally implements the content the NDC and the Climate Change Act to avert the looming catastrophic consequences.
Prof. Okereke, however, thanked the Federal Government of Nigeria for its commitments so far in investing and developing different climate change policies such as the NDCs and Climate Change Act aimed at mitigating climate change and ensuring adaptation in the country. He argued that existing policy documents do not have well spelt out programmes that will ensure that the set target of reducing emission in the country would be achieved.
He reminded the youth that climate change challenge offers them opportunities in the areas of advocacy, innovation and climate education, and charged them to embrace the opportunities and make their voices heard in the climate change arena.
In his opening remarks, the Ebonyi State Vice President of Global Environmental and Climate Conservation Initiative, Ukachukwu Macpherson Ifeanyi, said that the conference became imperative to address the role of Nigeria youth in climate change mitigation and adaptation due to the fact that climate change posed a great danger to the survival of mankind. He called on Nigeria youth to come together and form a common front in the crusade for climate change action in Nigeria.
During the panel session, Prince Sunny Ugwuocha, SSA to the Governor on Environment and Climate Change, Dr. Robert Onyeleke, Elochukwu Anieze, Chinedu Nwasum, and Nnaemeka Justus Unigwe, spoke on different aspects of the conference theme such as youth participation in climate change, legal implication of climate change policies, climate education and communication in Nigeria.
In his closing remarks, the CEO, Global Environmental and Climate Conservation Initiative (GECCI), Mr. Tahir Hamid, thanked the people who attended the conference and admonished them to pass the information and knowledge from the conference to the neighbours and friends.
The one-day conference which held in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, attracted young advocates, entrepreneurs, researchers, students, academia, CSOs, NGOs, and other change-makers attending the event from the South-East.
By Chinedu Nwasum