Coordinator of the International Climate Change Development Initiative (ICCDI) in Abuja, Mr Seyifunmi Adebote, has called on the Federal Government to involve more youths in climate conversations and negotiations.
Adebote, Leader of Nigeria’s Youth Delegate to the recently held Abu Dhabi Climate Change Meeting in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), said involving more youths in climate conversations would encourage and support them to lead sustainable climate solutions, void of political and regional sentiments.
The Abu Dhabi climate meeting was structured to evaluate and strengthen the initiatives, commitments, and achievements that will be announced at the UN Climate Action Summit scheduled to take place in September in New York, U.S.A.
Adebote said that climate change was becoming a priority for the government of many countries, which was clearly reflected in their budget allocations toward climate-friendly development projects.
He stressed the need for the Federal Government of Nigeria to invest in capacity building of people in rural communities, people-focused training on mitigation and adaptation, as well as the government-people interaction to solve the climate-related crisis.
“If climate action is a priority for the Federal Government of Nigeria, one clear way to portray this is for President Mohammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the Ministry of Environment, Department of Climate Change and related top executives to seek to have a seat with a fair representation of Nigerian youths.
“They should engage directly with these young people who are taking these actions or at least trying to,” Adebote said.
While making reference to the Abu Dhabi meeting, he said there was a need for multi-sectoral involvement in Nigeria seeing that the UN had created nine action portfolios to assess the different areas that the Climate Action Summit would focus on in September.
Adebote said that Nigeria, along with Namibia and Ireland, were member-countries for the Youth Engagement and Public mobilisation work stream being led by Marshall Island.
He added that Nigeria had also been included in the Resilience and Adaptation work stream, adding that, in the coming days, Nigeria would reflect as a country member of the Climate Finance work stream.
His words: “These representations are not merely for the sake of prestige, these are areas where Nigeria’s strengths and needs lie, hence, the need for Nigeria’s more active participation in these work streams.
“The lesson for the Federal Government of Nigeria is to understand the importance of a multi-sectoral approach to address the subject of climate change.
“Every MDA must have a clear understanding of how climate change is linked to their organisation’s operations. In addition, there should be a contact person or desk officer to align such concerns with other MDAs.
“Ultimately, this will guide in a holistic presentation of Nigeria’s position in global or regional climate negotiations or conference.”
Adebote said there was also the need for fair representation and delegation at international climate change meeting, adding that the government delegation was the face attached to Nigeria’s representation.
He said there was the need to answer questions such as “Who are the people representing Nigeria on global platforms to discuss climate change? How well informed are these people?”