The United Nations High Level Champion for COP26, Nigel Topping, visited Nigeria from June 14 to 16, 2022, to engage with government on the implementation of national climate change plans (including the Nationally Determined Contributions, Energy transition Plan and Climate Change Act) and ramp up ambition towards meeting Nigeria’s net-zero by 2060 goal.
Topping was appointed the UK Government’s High Level Climate Champion for COP26 in January 2020, to help drive action from businesses, investors, organisations, cities, and regions on climate change and coordinate this work with governments and parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
During his visit, he met with top government officials, leading private and financial sector leaders, civil society organisations and climate change activists across Abuja and Lagos, and discussed the opportunities of a green transition, understand the challenges and how to overcome them, as well as advance the UK government’s overall effort to boost climate action in Nigeria.
Topping met with senior government officials, including the Minister of Finance, Budgeting and Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi; Minister of State for Transport, Ms Gbemisola Saraki; and representatives of State Governors of Kaduna, Kano and Jigawa states; Mallam Nasir El’Rufai, Kaduna State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Kano State Governor and Alhaji Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, Jigawa State Governor.
The visit included a site visit to the Nile University, Abuja, where he engaged with young students on climate ambition and renewable energy; and a tour of two project sites in Lagos – PriVida Project, a UK renewable energy business, founded in 2013 to facilitate renewable technology transfer from developed countries to Africa hereby reducing carbon emissions significantly; and EKO Atlantic, to understand what the Lagos State Government is doing to improve climate resilience, including with support from UK Aid programmes.
Speaking during the visit, Topping said: “I congratulate Nigeria on its ambitious NDC, the Energy Transition Plan presented at COP26 last November and the subsequent passing of the Climate Change Act. Implementation of these policies are now key.
“The mobilisation of both State and non-State actors – including businesses, academia and civil society – is essential to improve the investment climate of Nigeria so that the country can in turn attract the right investments that will accelerate the transition into a low-carbon and resilient economy.”
British Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos, Ben Llewellyn-Jones, said: “With the UK as the current Presidency of COP and following the historic COP26 event held in Glasgow last November, and ahead of COP27 in Egypt later this year, it was important for us to have Nigel Topping here in Nigeria.
“His visit is a timely reminder for all of us about how hard the UK is continuing to work around the world with our partners, like Nigeria, to ensure that every effort is made to deliver on and bring in to affect the commitments made by us, by Nigeria and buy the rest of the world to tackle climate change.”