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One Planet Summit: Buhari rallies global support to address effects of climate change

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 in Paris appealed to the international community to support Nigeria’s commitment to reducing the negative effects of climate change.

Buhari One Planet Summit
President Muhammadu Buhari with world leaders at the One Planet Summit

The president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina in a statement in Abuja said Buhari made the appeal in a submission to the “One Planet Summit” in Paris, France.

The summit with the theme “Climate Change Financing’’, was attended by over 60 heads of state and governments, as well as representatives of non-governmental  and private organisations.

President Buhari told participants of the summit that Nigeria could not implement its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) without adequate financial, technical and capacity building support from developed countries.

He added that “since the adoption of the Paris Agreement, we have been strengthening our national efforts toward implementing the accord and the Marrakech Call for Action.”

He said Nigeria had already ratified the Paris Agreement in May 2017 but that the country’s NDCs to reduce emission by 20 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2030 could not be attained alone.

According to him, the country is not under illusion of the challenges it is facing, having just come out of recession.

The President added that “Nigeria recognises that ensuring sustainable funding is a major constraint in efforts to implement the Nationally Determined Contributions.

“Critical mass of financial resources beyond what we can provide from our national resources will be required to effectively respond to climate change mitigation and adaptation challenges.”

On steps Nigeria took to meet its national goal in this respect, he said the country had embraced the issuance of green bond as innovative and alternative source of projects funding that would help to reduce emissions and provide robust climate infrastructure.

He explained that such infrastructure included renewable energy, low carbon transport, water infrastructure and sustainable agriculture in line with the Paris Agreement.

In furtherance of efforts to deliver the country’s pledges, the President said government was “tightening existing governance structure in Nigeria for more effective implementation of climate change activities.”

According to him, this will include additional responsibilities that will follow
the adoption of all-encompassing climate change treaty.

He noted that “government is actively promoting technologies and practices such as sustainable land management, climate resilient agriculture, water efficiency, clean energy and skills for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, among others.’’

He, however, noted that sustaining these efforts would also require external support.

The measures required, he said, included “accelerating Research and Development on facilitating Access to Climate Friendly Technologies through technology pooling and collective approach to financing Research and Development”.

Others, according to him, include regulating restrictive practices in licencing agreements and anti-competitive uses of Intellectual Property and International Declaration on Climate Technologies.

He said: “In Nigeria, we are looking at insurance-based proposals to deal with loss, damage and adaptation to the poor, vulnerable and hard-to-reach groups.

“Risk mitigation through insurance must benefit those groups who currently have negligible access to any form of indemnity coverage.

“Vulnerable groups will also benefit from new technologies and ways to make insurance schemes affordable, including long term premium support.’’

The president acknowledged the fact that “the adverse impacts of climate change such as temperature rise; erratic rainfall, sand storms, desertification, low agricultural yields, drying up of water bodies like Lake Chad, gully erosion and constant flooding were a daily reality in Nigeria.”

He, therefore, admitted that highly vulnerable communities lacked the capacity to cope.

He said Nigeria would require external assistance in long term solution for source of clean power, which could be achieved through private investments to create economic competitiveness for industrialisation.

He added that “job creation and agriculture programmes throughout the country as well as inclusion of Nigeria in Climate Regional Programmes, especially strong financial support to planned project for the replenishment of Lake Chad were highly necessary.”

The President said long term solution would ensure sustained livelihood for rural and urban communities, and permanently address the conditions conducive to the spread of violent extremism and terrorism, and stem illegal migration, especially of youths abroad.

In acknowledging that external support must be sustained on long term basis, Buhari emphasised that “the changes that Nigeria and other developing countries need to make cannot be undertaken overnight.”

He said fundamental restructuring of the economy was required, adding that “in this process, technology will be a powerful tool to simultaneously address climate change and advance development.”

The President said he looked up to developed countries to jointly take a leading role in mobilising support for this action plan on addressing the challenges of climate change within the framework of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

In their remarks, the three co-chairmen of the plenary session stressed the imperative of global comprehensive and speedy action, including private sector financing against the devastating impact of climate change.

The co-chairmen are the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres; World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim; and French President, Emmanuel Macron.

Adesina disclosed that President Buhari had, before the summit, attended a luncheon hosted by his French counterpart in honour of visiting heads of state and governments at the Elysee Palace.

By Ismaila Chafe

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