Scholars and stakeholders in the field of environment recently gathered in Abuja to review a five-year strategic plan of the Resource and Environmental Policy Research Centre (REPRC), University of Nigeria.
REPRC is an Environment for Development (EfD) Centre in Nigeria with the mandate to conduct policy-impact research that will help Nigeria solve its environmental challenges.
Director of REPRC-EfD Nigeria, Dr Nnaemeka Chukwuone, said that the Centre has produced over 28 high impact research publications since it started operation in 2019.
The Centre, according to him, has also been engaging with policymakers and advocating for changes informed by its research findings.
Some past activities of the Centre included: the development of pilot natural capital accounts for Nigeria, advocacy for the review of Nigeria’s Fishery Act, capacity building training for government technical staff and workshop for journalists to enhance reporting of environmental issues.
Dr Chukwuone said that the strategic plan, which will span from 2022 to 2026, would help the Centre pursue and achieve specific objectives through research, policy engagements and capacity building for researchers and government staff.
“Our target is to use research to influence policies that will make our environment better,” he said.
In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Prof Charles Igwe, commended the Centre for its achievements but noted that lots more needed to be done to help Nigeria solve its numerous environmental problems.
Prof. Igwe said that the strategic plan will help the Centre to carry out a focused intervention in the core areas of its mandate.
While commending TETfund for its intervention in research funding, the Vice-Chancellor said that the absence of budget on research in the annual budget of universities was a challenge to the efficiency of research institutions in Nigeria.
Prof. Emmanuel Oladipo, the Chairman of REPRC Policy Advisory Panel, suggested that the government should set up a National Research Council with the responsibility to determine the country’s problems and commission universities to carry out solution-based research.
Prof. Anthonia Achike, the Chairman of REPRC strategic plan committee, said that the event was organised to solicit suggestions of environmental experts and stakeholders in order to fine-tune the strategic plan.