Nigeria will continue to ensure that young people are a part of climate change processes in Nigeria, from the consultation to implementation and even at the global level of climate negotiation.
This promise was made on Monday, October 19, 2020 by the Minister of State for Environment, Barrister Sharon Ikeazor, during her opening remarks at a webinar focusing on public participation in Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC)
The virtual event was aimed at experience sharing from around the world with a focus on drafting and implementation processes of the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). It was organised by the Centre for Climate Change and Development (CCCD) of the Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike Ikwo (AE-FUNAI), Ebonyi State, Nigeria, in collaboration with the World Resources Institute (WRI), Washington D.C.
In her opening remarks, the Minister of State for Environment said, “In our bid to explore how our youth could be more involved in climate change decision-making process, especially the NDC, a virtual National Youth Climate Consultation on Nigeria’s NDC Enhancement was convened a few weeks ago.
“The participation at the webinar was great and we had over 300 sign-ups for the youth working groups. The Youth’s suggested imputes into Nigeria’s NDC at the end of that webinar has been submitted and is being reviewed, we shall see that some of it – if not all, are reflected in the final NDC document.”
The minister also referenced the Regional Youth Climate Innovation Hubs which held across the six geopolitical zones harvesting and collating climate-focused innovative ideas driven by young people. She gave credit to youth-led organisations that facilitated the process under the watch of the Department of Climate Change (DCC) in the Federal Ministry of Environment and with the support of the United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP).
“I am absolutely convinced that public participation is a necessary requirement for accommodating diverse views in climate change decision making and process and, that is why I have been liaising tirelessly with all stakeholders including the youth, women groups, academia, private sector, conservationists, as well as Commissioners of Environment in different geopolitical zones of the Federation, trying to encourage their action not only at the Federal level but also at the Subnational level,” she said.
Appraising the current level of youth engagement by the government, another resource person, Olumide Idowu, the Co-founder of the International Climate Change Development Initiative (ICCDI Africa), said that youth engagement in Nigeria is not tokenistic and called for a more prompt government response to call by young people to embark on more strategic climate action projects across the country.
Huzi Msheilla, an independent consultant who has served as the facilitator of Nigeria’s NDC review and implementation processes, shed some light on the level of engagement and incorporation of other stakeholders in accelerating climate action in Nigeria.
The event was moderated by Professor Chukwumerije Okereke, Director, CCCD of AE-FUNAI.
Other speakers at the event included Prof. Donald Brown, the Winner of 2019 UNESCO Avicenne Prize for Climate Change Ethics; Dr Thomas Hale of Oxford University; Rachael Rico, Policy Advisor, Italian Climate Network; Dr Malle Fofana of the Global Green Growth at the Republic of Korea; Ms Yamide Dragnet, Director, Climate Negotiations, World Resources Institute; and Jessica Cookie, the Policy Officer at PLAN International.
By Seyifunmi Adebote