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Beyond COP26: CSOs want NDC prioritised to accelerate climate action

The search for a solution on how to help Nigeria achieve its net-zero emission targets by 2060 has made a coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) call on the government to prioritise its implementation of the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to capture the needs of marginalised people to promote climate action in local communities.

CSDevNet Post COP26 Workshop
Participants at the CSDevNet Post COP26 Workshop in Abuja

The group, which met in Abuja on Thursday, December 11, 2021, during a multi-stakeholder national dialogue organised by the Climate & Sustainable Development Network (CSDevNet) to x-ray the outcome of the just-concluded 26th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that held recently in Glasgow, Scotland, agreed that prioritising these wants will help the nation to identify critical areas of climate change intervention, increase civic inclusion, and further boost resource mobilisation to implement the various proposed adaptation initiatives contained in the NDC.

Nigeria, like many other developing and Small Island countries, is highly at risk of climate change. The 2014 World Climate Change Vulnerability Index report published by Verisk Maplecroft, a global risk analytics organisation, classified Nigeria as one of the 10 most vulnerable countries to climate change disasters in the world.

Extreme events and weather variabilities such as droughts, floods, erosion, and sea-level rise are some of the noticeable impacts of climate change on the nation. It is boldly stated inside the revised NDC’s adaptation priorities that the impact of these changes without adaptation could cost between 6% and 30% of Nigeria’s GDP by 2050, amounting to between $100 billion and $460 billion.

After its new mitigation analysis to update the NDC, Nigeria restated its commitment to its unconditional target to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions by 20% below business-as-usual by 2030 and increased its conditional target to 47% below business-as-usual by 2030 on condition of receiving appropriate support.

This is an ambitious commitment and represents a significant enhancement, which will lead to much lower absolute emissions than previously forecasted, and it will require significant resource mobilisation to achieve this target in the next nine years.

Many developing nations are disappointed over the Glasgow Pact because of its failure to address their critical need of loss and damage. They accused the developed countries of being insincere to fulfill their $100 billion pledge to address adaptation issues in these poor nations that suffer the burden of this calamity even though they contribute less to its cause.

These are some of the issues that the coalition believes Nigeria must focus on to be able to tackle its climate change crisis. The group is seeking more capacity building for CSOs on how to access climate finance to promote adaptation programmes particularly in rural communities where these impacts are more evident.

So, it is important for Nigeria to come up with a community adaptation plan that will accommodate these people and ensure that they understand the problem and their role in solving it. The plan will also help the nation specify its technological requirement and not just accept anything proposed by the international communities.     

The domestication of the UK COP26 agreement to include more young people, who are working at the grassroots level to promote climate action, human rights, peace, and security, as well as climate education, are other areas of significant interest that must be looked into to help Nigeria tackle its climate setback.

“It is important for the government to start thinking of how to develop a private sector strategic plan for NDC implementation,” said Dr. Sam Ogallah, climate finance adviser at the Commonwealth.

Dr. Ogallah, while speaking on the “Strategy, common position and actions plan on the outcome of COP26,” gave a vivid breakdown of Nigeria’s financial status and requirement to properly carry out its adaptation plan, charging the citizens to start thinking of where these resources are going to come from.   

Huzi Mshelia, Nigeria’s NDC facilitator and an independent consultant on policy and legal issues on climate change, energy, and the environment, has a different view of the Glasgow accord. He believes that for the UK to successfully host COP26 in the face of COVID-19, a global health pandemic, should be applauded and considered as an achievement.

Instead of dwelling more attention on the failure of Glasgow, the technocrat advised the CSOs to develop an advocacy strategy to engage the government on how to achieve its national adaptation plan.

Like many other stakeholders, he also raised the issue of climate finance, loss & damage, transparency, and accountability as some of the key questions that must be answered to meet the net-zero emission target cut by 2060.

“We have to start thinking of real-life impact for the ordinary people,” Mshelia said, “and advocate for solutions that address their needs.”

The representative of the African Youth Commission (AYC), Kolo Kenneth, wants to see collaboration between the Ministries of Education, Environment, and Youth & Sports Development to increase climate change education and public participation.

He also canvassed for more young people to be brought on board to help champion a clear pathway on how to translate the NDC into a practical document. This inclusion, according to him, will help attract and bring together young innovators that will help contribute to the climate solution.

“Ahead of COP27, we want young people within the ages of 18-35 to be part of the negotiating table so that as the older ones are transiting, they have knowledge of the issues and how to tackle them,” the youth representative said.

He urged CSOs to work with the private sector to create awareness on government policies and help them to understand how their activities impact the environment.

On UK-Nigeria partnership beyond COP26, Sean Melbourne, head of climate change and energy, West Africa, commended Nigeria for the various approaches it has taken to address climate change, with a major focus on ensuring its plans are consistent with national development priorities and using the energy sector as a key driver for economic growth.

Melbourne, who was represented by Adesuwa Obasuji, climate change policy manager at the British High Commission in Abuja, praised the nation for its progress on climate change governance, and for recognising climate change as a threat to its economic prosperity and future growth.

Ahead of COP26 and with the UK support, according to him, Nigeria submitted its revised Nationally Determined Contribution, published its Adaptation Communication, and developed an Energy Transition Plan. Nigeria also published its Long Term Climate Vision and endorsed the Global Methane Pledge.

“Post COP26, we welcomed Nigeria’s ground-breaking Climate Change Bill being passed into law,” he said, “This provides an overarching legal framework for achieving Nigeria’s long-term climate goals, including the net-zero carbon emission target.”

By Etta Michael Bisong, Abuja  

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