The city of Uyo in Akwa Ibom State was the centre of attraction as climate change desk officers of the 36 state Ministries of Environment and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), civil society organisations (CSOs) and some strategic stakeholders gathered from Thursday, July 19 to Friday, July 20, 2018 to review Nigeria’s Draft Third National Communication (TNC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Organised by the Department of Climate Change (DCC) of the Federal Ministry of Environment with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the two-day stakeholders’ workshop, according to Dr Peter Tarfa, the DCC director, was informed by Nigeria’s commitment to its reporting obligation to the UNFCCC, albeit in a transparent and inclusive manner.
“Continuous preparation of a National Communication document, in series, is an obligatory requirement on all parties to the UNFCCC, which aims to communicate to the Convention and the global community, national inventory of greenhouse gas sources and sinks, mitigation options, vulnerability, adaptation and abatement analysis of the impacts of climate change. It also serves as a basis for reference on future auditing of greenhouse gas inventory in the country. Nigeria has produced and submitted its first and second National Communications to the UNFCCC in fulfilment of its reporting obligation. Activities are in top gear towards finalisation of the Third National Communication,” said Dr Tarfa.
Prior to Uyo, a two-day stakeholders’ inception workshop was held in Keffi, Nasarawa State, in May 2017 to address several key enabling activities of the project. The was followed by the engagement of the services of the consulting firm of Triple “E” Systems to develop the draft document.
Another two-day forum held in Kaduna for the institutionalisation of thematic working groups for activity data sourcing and development of category and sub-category templates. Data was then sourced and obtained from relevant ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), even as a daylong consultation with the Organised Private Sector (OPS) in Lagos took place in the bid to capture inputs into the document.
“The workshop in Uyo is aimed at subjecting the TNC draft to wide stakeholder’s review to reflect national circumstances and also ensure a transparent, complete, accurate and accountable document,” emphasised Dr Tarfa.
In his opening remarks in Uyo, Dr. Shehu Ahmed, Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Environment, described the ministry as the designated National Focal Point (NFP) with a core mandate of implementing the UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Agreement. The DCC, he added, is executing this responsibility, and in the process working closely with all ministries in the government as well as with the private sector players, and civil society towards developing policies, projects and programmes “with the aim of achieving a level of sustainable development for the prosperity and well-being of all citizens”.
Represented by Auwal Maidsbino, Director, Planning, Research and Statistics (PRS), Dr Ahmed added: “Towards the preparation of Nigeria’s Third National Communications, we recognised the invaluable roles of the MDAs, state and local governments, civil society and the private sector, most especially in responding to the growing concern for understanding and addressing climate change challenges and in the areas of understanding the past and the future impacts caused by this phenomenon in our nation.
“The National Communication requires us to list the main actions we have taken over the previous years and assess the additional options of response that we have available to mitigate the cause of the problem and to adapt ourselves to its consequences.
“If we act in isolation, we’ll never get to where we need to be. But if we work together, we can accomplish great things. There is much to learn from each other as there are great challenges to be addressed. An important feature of this event is its harvesting of views for consideration in finalisation of the Third National Communication (TNC) document and to ensure a cross-sectional involvement and national ownership of the document.
“The engagement of all levels of government – local, sub-national and national – is crucial to tackle effectively climate change. This is especially important in the context of the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) of Nigeria under the Paris Agreement. Under the NDC, Nigeria is committed to unconditional reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 20% below Business As Usual (BAU) projections by 2030, and a conditional contribution of 45% reduction, based on commitment with international support.”
In a goodwill message, the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Environment and Mineral Resources, Dr Iniobong Ene Essien, disclosed that, in responding to the challenges of climate change, the state government has put in place measures aimed at tackling the adverse effects of the phenomenon.
“One of such measures is the development of a Roadmap for Sustainable (Green) and Resilient Economic Development of Akwa Ibom State (2018-2030). This document outlines projects and activities to be implemented by the state government in collaboration with development partners/private sector to foster a low carbon and resilient economic development in the state,” he said.
According to him, a state-level institutional response was identified as an urgent requirement for the implementation of the Roadmap. To coordinate the activities of the Roadmap, he stated that government established a Department of Climate Change in the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources and has equally set up Inter-Ministerial Technical Committee on Climate Change.
“This Department thus becomes the focal point for all climate change and related activities in the state,” the Commissioner stressed, adding that, as part of the state’s mitigation strategy on waste management, preparations are in advanced stages for the signing of an MoU on waste recycling between the state government and the firm of P & A Environmental Solutions Limited.
He stated that Akwa Ibom has the potential to contribute to Nigeria’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) through its abundant renewable energy resources and other natural resources that support the agriculture sector.
“With the longest shoreline in the country, the state can support eco-friendly and sustainable tourism, while its vast mangrove plantations will contribute to protecting its shoreline from coastal erosion. We therefore solicit further strong collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Environment in capacity building of our personnel, projects development/implementation as well as financial support to tackle some of our climate change challenges,” Dr Essien said.