Efforts to save the human and physical ecologies of Nigeria’s Niger Delta region has turned out for the better, courtesy of a government initiative to shield the area from the vagaries of the global changing climate.
Supposedly harbouring the largest mangrove swamp in Africa with numerous species of flora and fauna, the ecologically sensitive region is however an environmentally notorious spot – courtesy of oil pollution and the abundance of greenhouse gases from flared associated gas.
Bothered that the existing policies, programmes, actions and measures are insufficient to address the level of risk posed by climate change in the region, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs has developed the Niger Delta Region Climate Change Programme and Action Plan (NDRCCP-AP) to address inherent gaps. The document was presented to delegates at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP24) held December 2018 in Katowice, Poland.
“Weak technical capacity and lack of appropriate institutional framework and governance instruments particularly at the national level are additional challenges pegging climate change response in the Niger Delta region and are some of the factors for poor participation by Nigeria and particularly the region in opportunities for addressing climate change issues,” disclosed Dr Samuel Adejuwon, Nigeria’s erstwhile climate chief and consultant to the Niger Delta Ministry.
The NDRCCP-AP, according to the ministry, is based on the principle of social and economic development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of developing countries and that a low-carbon development strategy is indispensable to sustainable development, in line with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Besides being in line with the national Policy on Environment, the NDRCCP-AP is said to complement the nation’s action in implementing various international conventions, treaties and protocols especially the principles of the Paris Agreement.
The document aims at guiding the region and other stakeholders on the implementation of collective measures to address climate change impacts and causes through adaptation, mitigation and other measures, while assuring sustainable socio-economic development through harmonised and coordinated strategies, programmes and actions to combat climate change.
According to the NDRCCP-AP, climate change impacts on nearly all sectors of the economy in the Niger Delta but mostly on land use and infrastructure, human health, human settlement, energy, water, agriculture and food security, biodiversity and ecosystem services, tourism, industry and transport.
While the Department of Environmental Management of the ministry will coordinate and manage the implementation of the Programmes and Action Plan to enhance synergies and minimse duplication of of efforts, it is proposed that the NDRCCP-AP will be reviewed every three years to take into account of emerging issues, challenges and trends on climate change at the local, national, sub-regional, regional and global levels.