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CLIMATE CHANGE AGREEMENT GIVES HOPE AND OPPORTUNITY FOR NIGERIA AND THE WORLD

STATEMENT OF THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, AMINA J MOHAMMED AT A PRESS BRIEFING ON THE OUTCOME OF COP21 PARIS

MONDAY, 21 DECEMBER 2015-12-21

The COP 21 in Paris provided Nigeria an opportunity to strengthen her leadership role in the international climate negotiations. With the full compliment of its highest political leader, President Muhammadu Buhari and other line Ministers in attendance. Nigeria’s voice was heard loud and clear declaring strong support for an equitably, just and legal binding climate change agreement that will provide the much needed support for developing countries to address the climate challenge.

President Buhari reminded the global audience that though sub-Saharan Africa is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change stemming from the man made actions of developed countries, the consequences are exacerbating poverty and fueling conflict in the region. These effects are not strictly localised as Europe begins to feel the effect of forced migration and terrorist activities. It is therefore clear that climate change has both global and local impacts that prevent the achievement of sustainable development.

Nigeria, as a leading member of the African Group during the negotiation strongly advocated for developed countries to take the lead and responsibility in emission reductions in both the short and long term, and fulfil their obligations under the Convention to provide finance, technology and capacity to developing countries in support of their own mitigation and adaptation obligations. Nigeria championed and won the debate to linking the new climate agreement with the Sustainable Development Agendaso as to provide an integrated approach to achieving higher ambition for taking climate action. While not perfect, the Paris Agreement has incorporated many of these issues through implementation modalities explicitly enshrined in the Agreement.

The Paris Agreement has created a veritable global platform for President Buhari’s bold change agenda, which reiterates a new direction, with a focus on green, inclusive growth at its heart. Therefore, the new agreement, “gives hope and opportunities for Nigeria, Africa and the World.

While not perfect, the Paris Agreement delivers on the following key elements;

  • It represents a historic watershed moment for humanity as the world agrees to turn words into climate action.
  • The universal agreements will keep global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels

The deal provides a framework for delivering the ambitious emission reductions that the world needs, recognises the importance of keeping temperature increases below 1.5° C and demands that developed countries must continue to take the lead and increase their financial and technical support for developing countries as we embark on this transition;

  • Recognises the commitment made to 100bn pa by 2020 as the floor and not the ceiling for financing poor countries
  • Allows for parity in addressing commitments to both Adaptation and Mitigation efforts
  • Ensures a transparent and regular review of the INDC’s and as such brings pressure to bear on increasing ambition towards the temp goal
  • Commits to additional support for technology and capacity building in developing countries
  • Recognises the importance of women, children, vulnerable groups and human rights

Nigeria’s ambitious INDC, which aims to reduce emissions by 20% below BAU by 2030, rising to 45% with support from the international community will be revised to reflect the Decisions and Agreement of the COP21. This will allow us to ensure an implementation strategy that is results oriented and integrated into our national plans at all levels and in all key stakeholder constituencies.Among other things this opportunity will ensure the following;

  • Substantially increase the use of climate smart agriculture through irrigation systems, climate-resilient crops and broader sustainable land management (SLM) practices. Given the climate risks that Nigeria faces, this is the only way in which the government’s ambitious Agriculture Transformation Agenda can be delivered.
  • Diversify the energy mix from fossil fuels towards renewables and efficient gas power. In particular, we plan to scale up off-grid solar power, delivering energy access to the poorest communities in a cheaper, healthier and less emissions intensive way.
  • Create a more efficient, lower carbon oil and gas sector. By ending gas flaring and using the gas for commercial purposes, including power generation, we could generate as much as $7.5 billion of benefit
  • Create greener, more resilient and pleasant cities to live in. Nigerian cities are adopting global best practice in low-carbon public transport solutions with a bus rapid transit system already open in Lagos. But more can be done and will be done, to promote urban transit solutions that both reduce emissions, and unblock congestion, providing a huge stimulant to productivity.

Collectively, these opportunities will not only reduce emissions and improve climate resilience; they can also unlock economic opportunities and reduce poverty in the lives of Nigerians especially our women and youth. The World Bank estimates that far from increasing costs on the Nigerian economy, a collection of low-carbon activities could provide a boost to the economy as great as 2% of its GDP. The INDC serves as a veritable tool to reflect the new change agenda.

Following the COP 21 agreement and in ensuring that the Ministry is responding to and communicating to Nigerians, the nations environment and climate change challenges, I and my HMS undertook a whirlwind tour of the country starting from South West – Lagos, to South East- Imo, Anambra, South –South- Rivers, North West- Kano, Jigawa and North East States-Yobe through Borno to assess the gravity of the environmental challenges, seeing and listening to the communities across the country. This tour will continue and the experience will help to inform decision making at all levels as we seek to implement this Administrations Change Agenda. It is worth noting that this cannot be done without the partnership of the States and Local Governments Authority. Legislative authorities, civil society, business and the communities.  It is the genuine collaboration of all stakeholders that will ensure ownership and the sustainability of the investments we make now and in the future.

I am deeply concerned about empowering our people, protecting the environment and the planet as a whole. This cannot be tackled without the partnership of all stakeholders including our international partners, Inter-ministerial collaboration, media, CSOs, private sector, youth, women and children, the physically challenged and the most vulnerable.

Without pre-empting what I intend to do, permit me to note that together we shall design programmes that would address the nations challenging problems in the short, medium and long term. I urged for the support of the international community to assist with financing, technology, and capacity building, as well as many across the private sector and civil society to partner with Government to unblock the opportunities provided by this world acclaimed agreement. Working together, I firmly believe that we can commit to action that will serve as a springboard to Nigeria’s new climate economy.

We are coming with a new narrative for meeting Change Agenda that will set the course for “Empowering People, Tackling Climate Change and Protecting the Environment.”

About Elisha Awojuola

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