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Environment Ministry inaugurates State Climate Desk Officers’ coordination meeting

The Federal Ministry of Environment has launched an inaugural State Climate Desk Officers’ Coordination Meeting.

Department of Climate Change (DCC)
Participants at the inaugural meeting that held virtually

The inaugural meeting, which as convened by the Ministry’s Department of Climate Change, was held virtually via Zoom on Thursday, June 13, 2024, and lasted from 12:00 to 13:30.

The meeting was officially inaugurated by the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Environment, Mr Mahmud Adam Kambari, who also delivered the keynote speech.

In his keynote address, the Permanent Secretary stated that “the onset of climate change presents an unprecedented threat to our planet, with far-reaching consequences for our environment, economies, and societies.”

He emphasised that subnational climate change officers play an important role in translating global climate goals into actual actions and policies that are relevant at the local level.

“Your work on the frontlines of climate action, implementing mitigation and adaptation measures, is essential in building a more sustainable future for our citizens and safeguarding our natural resources for generations to come,” stated the Permanent Secretary.

Noting that previous meetings had taken place, the Permanent Secretary stated that the purpose of the launch was “to re-enact and foster existing synergy of the national and subnational towards aligning and meeting the Ministerial High Impact Deliverables in line with the Presidential Transformative Agenda.”

He also stated that the gathering is an opportunity to relaunch the Toolkits for the States’ Climate Action Communication, which the Ministry has produced and will soon be sent to the 36 States and the FCT to improve reporting on national climate action.

Mr. Kambari stated that the coordinating conference “provides a unique opportunity to foster collaboration, exchange best practices, and forge partnerships that will strengthen our collective impact on climate change mitigation and adaptation.”

“By coming together as a community of dedicated professionals, we can leverage our expertise, share lessons learned, and explore innovative solutions to address the complex challenges posed by climate change in our regions and states,” he stated.

In her remarks, Dr. Iniobong Abiola Awe, Director of the Department for Climate Change, stated that the Coordination Meeting is a critical platform for implementing the outcome of the 17th Session of the National Council on Environment (NCE) Resolution 9Ai, which states “the need for effective communication, collaboration, and synergy between the Federal and States in all environmental issues to enhance performance and better implementation of National Environmental Policies.”

The platform is expected to “serve to bridge the existing communication gap, provide a platform for knowledge-sharing and capacity development, and an enabling effective reporting of climate action, overall, it seeks to jointly synergise efforts at national and subnational levels to achieve climate commitments.”

Regular meetings will allow Desk Officers to share information, best practices, and coordinate efforts to improve climate resilience and link subnational climate action with national climate goals and priorities.

The Director stated that the discussions would allow state climate officers to find synergies, gaps, and areas of collaboration with other stakeholders such as government, civil society, academia, and the commercial sector.

She further stated that the platform would provide a chance to increase the ability of skill development for state climate desk officials through targeted training workshops and knowledge sharing activities. The Director stated that the DCC has formed a secretariat to manage coordination meetings and guarantee that the vision and objectives are implemented.

Professor Chukwumerije Okereke, President of Society for Planet and Prosperity (SPP), who was invited to make a presentation on the status of the Subnational Climate Governance Ranking Project, which is being done in collaboration with DCC, congratulated the Federal Ministry of Environment and the DCC for the inaugural coordination meeting and expressed his belief that the initiative and platform would go a long way in helping to plug the current gap in climate change governance in Nigeria by promoting stronger climate action.

Prof Okereke stated that the Climate Governance Performance Ranking of States builds upon the Climate Action Mapping initiative, which was completed last year in conjunction with the DCC and the Nigeria Governors Forum.

According to him, the ranking and rating project is now designed to establish a single comprehensive ranking of climate governance for the 36 states of the Federation.

Prof Okereke stated that the ranking considers five factors: climate governance and administrative structure, climate policy and action plan, climate change project implementation, climate finance and budget, and online visibility.

Okereke said he was confident that the climate governance rating initiative would spark health rivalry and a race to the top among state governments.

He stated that the mapping initiative completed last year was already having a major positive impact, with a record number of states now working to develop climate policy and action plans.

He stated that the final outcome of the rating and ranking exercise with the accompanying report would be released in a big national event in July, with the first three states getting awards jointly presented by the Federal Ministry of Environment and the Society for Planet and Prosperity.

He urged the state Desk Officers to remain focused on promoting climate action in their respective states and pledged that the Society for Planet and Prosperity is committed to mount capacity building and training programmes that will benefit the desk officers.

By Dolapo John, Department of Climate Change, Federal Ministry of Environment

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