A group dedicated to combating climate change and improving livelihood, the West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Use (WASCAL), in partnership with the International Climate Change and Development Initiative (ICCDI), has drafted an operational document for active civil society organisations on climate-related issues across countries in ECOWAS, with the sole aim of enhancing the awareness of the stakeholders on Global Stocktake in line with the implementation of the Article 14 of the Paris Agreement.
Project Lead and Senior Scientist of the Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso-based organisation, Dr. Kwame Hackman, during the workshop held on Thursday, April 6, 2023, in Lagos disclosed that the Independent Global Stocktake (iGST) is aimed at pursuing multiple avenues of influence to make the most of the opportunities afforded by the Climatework Foundation to accelerate climate ambition.
According to Dr. Hackman, “the iGST is a unique project and the main essence of it is to bring together voices from the civil society organisations to contribute to the process of the ongoing global stocktake under the Paris Agreement”.
The WASCAL Project Lead agreed that under normal circumstances these are roles of government of countries in West Africa but that WASCAL wass providing a complementary support for the government, and it will be good to bring all the civil society climate actors together including campaigners, rather than doing this at the individual level.
Dr. Hackman further explained that Climateworks Foundation (USA) is working towards providing the fund to ensure that the voices of civil society organisations from all over the world will work together under a unique platform called Independent Global Stocktake providing support to governments in line with the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
In his welcome address, Director of WASCAL Competence Centre and iGST Project Expert, Professor Kehinde Ogunjobi, said his team decided to visit the 15-member countries of ECOWAS and intimate them on the challenges ahead.
Ogunjobi said: “If the time the real operationalisation of the hub begins, all these activities will foster down people at the grassroots. We are also meeting with non-governmental actors with about 20 civil societies across the country at the workshop since they are the ones on the field. By the time we interface with them the set goal of the hub will be achieved.”
Professor Ogunjobi opined that “the importance of the programme is to achieve the goal of the UNFCCC of reducing global temperature to a minimum of between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius and that is the ultimate”.
The Director of WASCAL Competence Centre is optimistic that, if this is achieved, “it means that we would be able to mitigate the impact of climate change in our society and we live in a better environment, it means our crops will yield and come back to adequate yield, our environment is greener and more beautiful to live in, there are less people with diseases so it will be a win-win for us”.
Professor Ogunjobi however advised that government should take seriously the issue of climate change because climate change is right here with us. According to him, even the Nigeria Meteorological Agency is already forecasting heavy rain this year, more than what is being experienced in the last 30 years, so government should put more funding into research by conducting more research so as to reduce the impact of climate change in the society.
Speaking on behalf of the participants at the workshop, Director, Centre for 21st Century Issues, Ms. Titilope Akosa, admitted that the programme is a welcome development and participants are very proud to be part of it. She said that all participants are ready to drive the programme with zeal and passion in ensuring its success.
Akosa is also of the opinion that “the programme will help Nigerians to keep track of our Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), the Nigeria indices to see what has been done and continue to hold our policy makers to account on the implementation of Nigerian indices”.
After much deliberation at the workshop, participants and organisers later agreed to inaugurate the Nigeria iGST Group to serve as the operating body responsible for monitoring and regulating the activities of West Africa Hub in Nigeria towards achieving the desired set aims and objectives of WASCAL.
The ICCDI will lead the Hub in Nigeria.
By Ajibola Adedoye