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Friday, 27th of November 2020
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South East youths offer five home-grown solutions to climate change

Rising from a two-day intensive Climate Change Hub in Owerri, the capital city of Imo State, representatives of the youths of the South Eastern region of the country have come up with some traditionally regenerative and technologically driven homegrown solutions to the global crisis of climate change.

Climate Innovation Hub
Nnimmo Bassey with participants at the Youth Climate Incubation Hub in Owerri, Imo State

After intellectually challenging engagement, some five well-researched ideas were presented at the parley as the possible most strategic and innovative remedies to stem the tide of the global warming.

The ideas are:

Nkuzi

A Climate Change Education/ Awareness Initiative for the rural and urban residents, to be driven in local languages, storytelling, drama, poetry, songs and visuals, on the causes, impacts and actions needed to prevent and or tame climate crisis.

This idea also features a commitment to establishing Climate Volunteers/Champions and Clean Air Clubs at Secondary and Tertiary institutions, all with the objective of reviving Eco-friendly Traditional values synonymous with African people.

Efficient Waste Management

This idea is said to promote Regenerative Circular Economy through a more efficient collection of wastes, sorting, recycling, conversion of plastics to bricks, with a more ambitious focus on conversion of waste to energy, using Biochar Methodology.

“On this, we know that South Eastern people are business driven. Hence our resolve to start paying people to give us their wastes. With that incentive, you best can imagine the turnover we will be having in a year.

“Afterwards, the sorting, recycling and conversion to bricks and energy. As a matter of fact, our model is tailored towards that of Sweden, one of the Scandinavian countries, which is reportedly said to be of zero wastes! They have converted all their millions of tons of wastes to wealth and are currently importing,” explained, Nwachukwu Onyinyechi Eze, one of the team leads during her presentation.

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Restoration Programme

This solution is roughly focused on “restoring our Cities’ Ecosystem, through Smart Afforestation — Planting of millions of trees annually, construction of gardens and eco-friendly beautification relaxation spots, and setting up of Tree Brigades and Climate Taskforce to implement and protect the projects.”

Technology

Waste to Wealth Technology; Biochar; Waste to gas; Degradation Mapping; Climate Smart device.

Clean Energy

Clean energy for all; Eco Solar and Clean Stove; EcoNaija.

Out of the lots, the three most outstanding ideas are billed to represent the region in a national contest to be held in Abuja anytime from now, from which three overall best will emerge as the countries policy blueprint on climate change.

The ideas are expected to be handed to President Muhammadu Buhari, who in turn is to present same as part of his government policy documents at the forthcoming United Nations Assembly later in September in New York.

The Federal Ministry of Environment in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) jointly hosted the South East Zonal Youth Climate Incubation Hub event in the eastern heartland, at City Global Hotel, Owerri.

Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), an ecological think tank organisation, facilitated the event which is aimed at furthering Nigeria’s position as a member country of the United Nations’ Youth Engagement and Public Mobilization track at the Climate Action Summit in September 2019.

The youth hub had 69 participants drawn from the five states in the geo-political zone (Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo).

Meanwhile at the parley, climate change desk officers at both the federal and state ministry levels have been admonished to ensure that participants of this climate hub are further engaged on other critical aspects of climate issues and be involved in the implementation process.

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In the course of deliberations at the parley, participants in the hub also observed the following:

  • Climate change calls for emergency responses in Nigeria, therefore practical measures must be put in place and all stakeholders must be involved;
  • The non-implementation of extant environmental laws and policies continue to serve as a major setback in the fight for a safe climate in Nigeria;
  • The need to create more awareness among the Nigeria citizenry; and,
  • Financial investment and transfer of technology to build human capacity and groom basic ideas that will mitigate climate crises in Nigeria.

The enthusiastic attendees also pleaded with the government to “include persons with disabilities in the process, and as well as ensure that there is zero taxation for solar and renewable energy technology importation into the country, going forward.”

Declaring the event close, Dr. Peter Tarfa, Director, Department of Climate Change, who joined the hub via Zoom, promised the youths the maximum utilisation of their ideas.

He however advised them to keep playing their roles in providing sustainable solutions to climate change and remain engaged in taking climate actions.

The nation’s Climate Chief assured the Nigerian youths that the Federal Government would consider institutionalising the Climate Hub idea and its determination to promote ideas generation by youths and to mobilise them for climate actions that would address the challenges faced by Nigeria. 

He stressed that the Nigerian youths are central in the efforts of the global community to address climate challenge and have critical roles to play in actions taken to facilitate the achievement of Nigeria’s NDCs targets.

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At the unveiling of the programme earlier, Dr Tarfa’s presentation was delivered by Mrs Dolapo John, who disclosed that the Department of Climate Change of the Federal Ministry of Environment is Nigeria’s National Focal Point to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), tasked with the responsibility of coordination and implementation of the agreed Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, among others.

She pointed out that Nigeria’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) implementation targets five sectorial plans: Agriculture, Oil and Gas, Transportation, Power and Industry.

John furthered said that the Youth Regional Climate Change Innovation Hub serves as a platform for continuing interface of young people with government and development partners for the implementation of practical climate solutions.

In his remarks, Imo State Commissioner for Environment, Chief Tony Eze Okere, who on the second day was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Prince Chibuzor Obinna, thanked the organisers for giving the state a chance to host the “harvestation of innovative ideas of young Nigerians as solutions to the global climate crisis.”

He said the hosting right was perhaps a further validation of the governor’s aggressive pursuit of environmental protection, preservations and reclamation.

“These are with budgetary provisions for environmental protection, preservation and conservation. We are planting trees, building gardens, reclaiming lost forests and boosting the ecosystem,” Obinna said.

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s leading environmental/climate justice campaigner and Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Rev Nnimmo Bassey, in his remarks, noted that the engagement of the Nigerian youths in the search for sustainable solutions to climate change is imperative, as the millennials are now taking the lead in the climate change discussions all over the world,  advocating for real climate action to be taken.

The renowned environmentalist emphasised that young people have the brightest ideas and are capable of ingenious climate innovations, hence his pleaded to them to justify the confidence reposed in them.

He therefore charged the youths to be spontaneous in their response to climate issues and bring up solutions that are sophisticated, targeted and implementable.

By Bankole Shakirudeen Adeshina, Owerri

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