By Henry Okonkwo
The Resource and Environmental Policy Research Centre, Environment for Development (REPRC-EfD Nigeria) have called for the effective implementation of the Climate Change Bill that was recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Recall that the president had last week signed the bill which was earlier passed by the national assembly, making it to become part of the law of the federation.
Some of the provisions of the Climate Change Act is a legal framework on which the country’s climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts will be based.
The Climate Change Act provides among others, the constitution of a National Council on Climate Change to be headed by the President, with members which include Ministers of relevant ministries, Chairman of the Governor’s Forum, President of ALGON, National Security Adviser, representatives of the youths, Persons Living with Disabilities, women, climate-related NGOs, the private sector etc.
Also, the Act provides the setting up of the Climate Change Fund to be administered by the Council and equally provides for proper oversight on Nigeria’s Climate Change efforts by the National Assembly and a communication process that is time-bound, and public.
Reacting to the presidential assent, the Director of REPRC-EfD Nigeria, Dr Nnaemeka Chukwuone, in a statement issued on Thursday, described the signing of the Climate Change Act, as a “concrete step towards environmental sustainability, and low-carbon climate-resilient development”.
Chukwuone affirmed that Nigeria now has an enabling law for the management of its climate crisis.
“This makes Nigeria one of the few countries in Africa with such Acts, and we commend the President and the National Assembly for walking the talk on cutting Nigerian carbon emissions to net-zero by 2060,” he said.
The director also urged for the domestication of the Climate Change Act at the state levels for maximum impact.
“Preserving our environment and ecosystem is a collective responsibility that requires a healthy partnership among relevant stakeholders.
“As a research Centre domiciled in the University of Nigeria, the REPRC-EfD Nigeria is always ready to provide evidence-based advice and technical support to realise the government’s agenda on environmental sustainability.
“Based on our research findings, we have been engaging with relevant stakeholders on the need to review Nigeria’s marine and fishery policies.
“It is our hope that very soon, marine and inland fisheries in Nigeria will have an updated law and policy that will favour the sustainable exploitation of aquatic resources in Nigeria waters.
“All of us at the REPRC-EfD Nigeria is delighted with the signing of the Climate Change Act by Mr President and look forward to its effective enforcement to drive Nigeria in the path of climate-resilient sustainable development.”
According to Chukwuone, “There is no better time to have a Climate Change Act than now, given the increasing need for environmental sustainability, low-carbon climate-resilient development, ecosystem conservation and the adoption of the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) in the country’s budgeting and national planning
“The Act has come at a crucial time that the Federal Ministry of Environment, in partnership with the Resource and Environmental Policy Research Centre, Environment for Development (REPRC-EfD Nigeria), and Natural Eco Capital and with support from World Bank, has already taken the initiative aimed at helping Nigeria mainstream natural capital into its system of national accounts.
“This partnership has done remarkable work on developing pilot Natural Capital Accounts (NCA) and natural capital accounting roadmap for Nigeria.
“Pilot NCA for land cover, ecosystem extent, mangroves, and greenhouse gas were produced under the ‘Towards Natural Capital Accounts for Nigeria’ project, supported by the World Bank,” he added.
The director further expressed optimism that the newly signed Act, which has given legal backing for the development of NCA for the country, will help fast track the production of NCAs and mainstream them into national policies and plans.