Nigeria’s quest to become one of the top twenty economies in the world by 2020 (Vision 2020:20) could prove challenging with the current “business-as-usual” approach, the Country Director, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Dr. Pa Lamin Beyai has said.
Beyai stated this in his welcome remarks at the Roundtable on ‘Pursuing a Legislative Agenda to enhance Nigeria’s Climate Resilience’, which held at the National Assembly Complex, Three Arms Zone, Abuja, recently.
“To attain its vision, Nigeria must seek to pursue its development at the lowest carbon trajectory possible combined with efficient use of its resources. This is the opportunity that the Paris Agreement represents,” Beyai said.
He gave assurance of “UNDP’s continuing commitment to partnering the government of Nigeria not only on the implementation of its climate change agenda but also in its broader aspiration of improving the quality of life of Nigerians and the delivering the dividends of democracy to Nigerians.”
The Country Director, who was represented by Dr. Takwa Zebulon, said with the adoption of the Paris Agreement, particularly Nigeria’s pledge under the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to reduce its emission by 20% by 2020 and 40% by 2030, there was huge obligation on government to strengthen existing governance arrangement to deliver on these pledges.
The Legislative Roundtable on Climate Change, Beyai said was with a focus on developing an efficient Legislative Oversight Framework that will enhance Nigeria’s climate resilience.
He said the implementation of the Paris Agreement and its INDCs component would be heavily dependent on legislative support in terms of appropriation and oversight. “It is imperative that the National Assembly has a good understanding of the dynamics of international and national climate governance.”
He congratulated the Chairman, of the House Committee on Climate Change and members of his committee “for facilitating this unique high level meeting – as a way of fostering deeper understanding of Nigeria’s commitment to the Paris Agreement and also more importantly to promoting the much needed, legislative ownership of Nigeria’s climate change agenda.”
He said although, the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) are no doubt one of the major outcomes of the historic Paris Agreement, but that appropriate legislation was however crucial to driving existing national policies and actions towards its attainment.
According to the UN Representative, “If Nigeria is to harness the opportunities that the new global climate regime presents – the legislature must be equipped with the requisite knowledge to make laws that will facilitate successful implementation.
“Aside legislating, an effective framework for over sighting is also important. It would serve to ensure the efficient use of scarce resources that would lead to job creation, poverty reduction and prosperity that leaves no one behind, all of which are pillars of the green economy and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
He said it was crucial that the National Assembly be better equipped to appreciate the impact of climate change on the economy, the imperative of reducing ecological scarcity and environmental risks and why adequate budgetary appropriation for climate responses and activities was required
The roundtable, he said was therefore important because it recognised the major role that Parliament plays in reaching Climate Change goals; it would contribute to increasing the understanding of members of the National Assembly on the concept of a low carbon, climate-resilient development and the green economy.
He said it would also help in structuring a common oversight framework that ensures that environmental and climate change concerns, and efficient use of natural resources are factored by line ministries in the implementation of national development plans; development of appropriate synergies amongst relevant Committees in the National Assembly for common objectives on climate change; utilisation of legislative instruments to explore other potential international climate financing to complement national appropriate for sustainable development; provision of legislative support for Nigeria’s domestication and implementation of the Paris Agreement, particularly the INDC components; and establish of a solid platform that the planned National Assembly joint session on climate change legislative framework could be built upon.
Therefore, a new legislative approach that will ensure effective climate governance has become an imperative, Beyai said, adding “the role of the National Assembly in providing laws for good governance will be incomplete without a good understanding of their expected role in ensuring a climate-resilient and climate compatible development to enhance economic growth. Hence, the need for the National Assembly to keep abreast with evolving issues particularly the concept of the green economy and green growth.”
He said United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) over the years, as part of its strategic support to the Government of Nigeria, in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Environment has provided both technical and financial support for the preparation of the following documents and activities, namely: The National Climate Change Policy and Response Strategy for Nigeria; Climate Change Diplomacy – aimed building national capacities for Nigeria to play a leadership role in climate change negotiations in Africa; Preparation the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) submitted in Paris in December 2015; The recent High Level Inter – ministerial Meeting on the Implementation of the INDC for sectoral buy-ins; and Development of Gender and Climate change programme for Nigeria.”
The UN Representative said going forward UNDP’s partnership with the National Assembly would focus on: Development and design of draft oversight template for climate governance; Identification of appropriate legislation / budgetary appropriation in support of climate change and the full implementation of the INDC under the Paris Agreement; and Mainstreaming climate change in relevant line ministry, using existing projects and securing the leadership of the National Assembly to champion the change and drive the process.
Chairman, House Committee on Climate Change, Hon. Sam Onuigbo said, “Nigeria cannot afford to lag behind in the comity of nations. Never again will we allow ourselves and our nation to be outpaced in these regional and international actions that are required to create sustainable and climate-friendly solutions that address the biggest development challenge threatening our civilization.”
Onuigbo said the 8th NASS would work with the executive arm of government to ensure Nigeria’s climate leadership in Africa. Partnership, he said was critical to combating climate challenges and “I want to categorically say here that the 8th NASS is determined to do whatever it takes to help MDAs surmount our climate challenges.
He said some important measures the federal government was taking on emission reduction were; to end gas flaring by 2030; adding 13,000 MV of off-grid solar PV; increasing investment in efficient gas power stations; reducing current power transmission losses; and achieving 2% per annum energy efficiency (30% by 2030); development of mass transport schemes; and adoption of smart agriculture and extensive reforestation.
He urged ministries and MDAs to mainstream climate change into their 2017 budget proposals to plug likely gaps and to lay solid foundation for the actualisation of the overall aim of the Nationally Determined Contributions.