Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Paris, France, said some fundamental restructuring of Nigerian economy was required in the drive to address climate change in the country.
In getting this done, the president said: “Technology will be a powerful tool to simultaneously address climate change and advance development.”
He made the remarks while speaking at the ongoing One Planet Summit in the French capital.
With the theme, ‘Climate Change Financing,’ the summit was reportedly attended by over 60 heads of state and government and representatives of non-governmental and private organisations.
The president, according to a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, called for financial and technical support of developed countries, observing that “we cannot implement our Nationally Determined Contribution without adequate financial, technical and capacity building support from the developed countries.”
Buhari said he looked up to the developed countries to jointly take a leading role in mobilising support for this action plan in addressing the challenges of climate change within the framework of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
He said: “In Nigeria, we are looking at insurance-based proposals to deal with loss, damage and adaptation to the poor, vulnerable and hard-to-reach groups.
“Risk mitigation through insurance must benefit those groups who currently have negligible access to any form of indemnity coverage. vulnerable groups will also benefit from new technologies and ways to make insurance schemes affordable, including through long term premium support.
“The adverse impacts of climate change such as temperature rise; erratic rainfall, sand storms, desertification, low agricultural yields, drying up of water bodies like Lake Chad, gully erosions and constant flooding are a daily reality in Nigeria.” Admitting that highly vulnerable communities lack the capacity to cope, he said Nigeria would require external assistance in the following areas:
“A long term solution for a source of clean power, which can be achieved through private investments to create economic competitiveness for industrialisation, job creation and agricultural programmes throughout the country; and the inclusion of Nigeria in climate regional programmes, especially strong financial support to our planned project for the replenishment of the Lake Chad.
“This long term solution will ensure sustained livelihood for rural and urban communities, and permanently address the conditions conducive to the spread of violent extremism and terrorism, and stem illegal migration especially of our youths abroad.”
In acknowledging that the external support must be sustained on a long term basis, President Buhari emphasised that “the changes that Nigeria and other developing countries need to make cannot be undertaken overnight.”
He appealed to the international community to support Nigeria’s commitment towards reducing the negative effects of climate change.
Furthermore, he said “since the adoption of the Paris Agreement, we have been strengthening our national efforts towards the implementation of the Agreement and the Marrakech Call for Action,” adding that even though Nigeria had already ratified the Paris Agreement in May 2017, the country’s “Nationally Determined Contribution to reduce our emission by 20 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2030,” cannot be attained alone.
He further said: “Having just come out of recession, we are under no illusion of the challenges that we face in Nigeria.
“Nigeria recognises that ensuring sustainable funding is a major constraint in efforts to implement the Nationally Determined Contribution. To respond effectively to climate change mitigation and adaptation challenges, critical mass of financial resources beyond what we can provide from our national resources will be required.”
On steps Nigeria has taken to meet its national goal in this respect, Buhari said the country has “embraced the issuance of the green bond as an innovative and alternative source of projects funding that would help reduce emissions and provide robust climate infrastructure, such as renewable energy, low carbon transport, water infrastructure and sustainable agriculture in line with the Paris Agreement.”
He also said in pursuit of efforts to deliver on the country’s pledges, the government was “tightening the existing governance structure in Nigeria for more effective implementation of climate change activities, including the additional responsibilities that are consequent on the adoption of the all-encompassing climate change treaty.”
He also said “government is actively promoting technologies and practices such as sustainable land management, climate resilient agriculture, water efficiency, clean energy, and skills for reducing greenhouse gas emissions among others,” noting that sustaining these efforts will also require external support.
He listed other measures required to address the trend to include: “accelerating research and development on facilitating access to climate friendly technologies, through technology pooling and collective approach to financing research and development, regulating restrictive practices in licensing agreements and anti-competitive uses of intellectual property and international declaration on climate technologies.”
The statement added: “In their remarks, the three co-chairmen of the plenary session, the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, the World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim, and the French President, Emmanuel Macron, stressed the imperative of a global comprehensive and speedy action, including private sector financing against the devastating impact of climate change.
“President Buhari had before the summit, attended a luncheon hosted by his French counterpart in honour of visiting Heads of State and Governments at the Elysee Palace.”