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Climate change: What youths want from government

Delivering the Paris Agreement of the Conference of Parties (COP21) demands multi-sectoral cooperation and inter-generational synergy. This is clearly so considering the ambitious nature of curbing greenhouse gas pollution, mainly CO2 from burning fossil fuels, in the face of industrialisation. Nonetheless, this will be the greatest contribution towards keeping the global average temperature in this century below 2 degrees Celsius.

Nigeria climate youths
Dr Peter Tarfa with some Nigerian youth representatives at the Africa Climate Week in Accra, Ghana

In Nigeria, this task is too heavy for a single department (of climate change) under the Federal Ministry of Environment to shoulder. There is a need for every Ministry, Department and Agency (MDA) of the Federal Government to carefully study Nigeria’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) document which gives insights about climate actions and how they can be domesticated across the five priority sectors; Energy, Oil & Gas, Agriculture & Land use, Power, Transport.

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Equally important is the need for inter-generational synergy, in the words of the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, “My hope lies in the young generation, whose future is being threatened, to take up the gauntlet and enforce compliance.” Nigerian youths with an understanding of this have begun to make demands from the Federal Government.

At a recent Youth Roundtable on Climate Action which held in Abuja, Nigeria on Friday, June 7, 2019; Dr. Peter Tarfa, the Director, Department of Climate Change, Federal Ministry of Environment interfaced with 60 youth representatives, where demands towards contributing to Nigeria’s Climate ambition were made.

Femi Akanji, the CEO of Dapper Exclusive, stressed the need to “generate baseline data for emission levels and made public the policies in place to curb emissions in highly industrialised cities like Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano, amongst others”.

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Another youth representative, Mr. Pius Oko, representing the Climate Sustainable Development Network (CSDevNet), demanded: “The government should set up a government-led youth and CSOs think-tank for climate change solutions in Nigeria.”

On his part, Olumide Idowu the co-founder of ICCDI Africa, opined: “There is a need for the government to have a valid M&E process to assess current climate action projects in the country.”

Stressing the need for climate change education, Favour Okieimen, representing Susty Vibes, stated that the government should invest in the education and sensitisation of the citizens on climate change seeing that majority of the citizens are clueless when it comes to climate change and its impacts.

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“Without education, implementation and enforcement of policies will be very difficult,” she said.

By ‘Seyifunmi Adebote


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