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Post COP26: Youths demand accountability to tackle environmental menace

The search for a solution on how Nigeria can best key into the global conversation on climate change to address its socio-economic needs has challenged a group of young advocates to demand accountability on the utilisation of ecological funds in the country.

Post COP26
Participants at the Agora public policy discussion series

Seeking this request during the fifth episode of the Agora public policy discussion series organised by the Young Professionals in Policy and Development (YouPaD) on Tuesday, November 30, 2021, in Abuja, the campaigners stated that Nigeria can comfortably take care of its adaptation requirements without any form of international support if climate finances are properly disbursed and channeled into genuine projects.

With attention to understanding the context of the climate change crisis in Nigeria, the dialogue examined the effects of this environmental nuisance on livelihood sources and how to enhance the capacity of young people to mitigate and build resilience against the anticipated disaster.

Reflections on the outcome of the just-concluded Conference of Parties (COP26) that took place in Glasgow were carried out with the youngsters canvassing for the institutionalisation of climate mitigation, adaptation, as well as resilience strategies in the country.

Other issues raised during the parley include how to generate internal resources to foster climate adaptation, tailoring of priorities to suit local needs, as well as staying open to all options that will lead the country towards the pathway of decarbonisation.

“We thought we should bring experts to talk about how these things affect us,” says Nnamdi Ifechi, Deputy Focal Lead at YouPaD.

The engagement, according to him, is also aimed at helping young people understand how they can contribute to the discussion around climate change mitigation, adaptation and possibly pressure the government to meet up with her commitments mostly on how they affect the youths.

Ifechi hinted that the Agora dialogue is one of the strategies deployed by YouPaD to mobilise and gather the views of young people on how best to superlatively serve their interest in the face of numerous developmental setbacks.

When asked what he would do differently if he had the magic wand to put an end to the entire climate change brouhaha, he said: “It is really about those people who are underserved and most vulnerable.”

For him, it is about bringing all the renewable energy alternatives together and building irrigation systems in the north to tackle desertification and other infrastructure to combat the incessant sea rises in the southern coastal region.

On the newly signed Climate Change Bill, Evelyn Ugbe, Director of Programmes, Women Advocate Research and Documentation Centre, hailed the action as a step towards the right direction that empowers the nation to effectively respond to the climate crisis.

However, she also wants Nigerians to look beyond the new climate change law and start to think of the way forward.

“We have to start defining the kind of development that we want,” she said. “We need to identify what mitigation and adaption mean to us and start pushing for some form of accountability.”

Agora is an initiative of YouPaD established to serve as a platform that brings young professionals together to brainstorm on the development of the youths and how to improve their livelihoods. This fifth edition of the program was supported by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung as part of efforts to encourage youth-led activities to deliver the global climate goal.

By Etta Michael Bisong, Abuja 

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