The federal government, through the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHADMSD), is scaling up climate change adaptation efforts in Nigeria so as to build community resilience and adaptation practices to mitigate and reduce the consequence of climate change.
The Minister of FMHADMSD, Sadiya Umar Farouq stated this while setting the context for the side event she held at the ongoing 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
The minister called on leaders of the developed world to use COP27 to implement the Paris Agreement, particularly funding of adaptation projects in developing countries, as determined at COP26 in Glasgow, last year.
Sadiya Umar Farouq said climate change-induced hydro-meteorological events are causing devastating humanitarian crises in Nigeria. “For example, in 2022, the rainfall was to be characterised by early onset dates, late cessation dates, the longer length of season, and enhanced precipitation amount.
“These large-scale displacements, damage to infrastructure and destruction of farmlands translates into sharp disruption of livelihoods, increased risk of hunger as farmers are unable to grow crops and there is also a heightened fear of the outbreak of malaria, cholera, diarrhea and other waterborne diseases.”
The minister said, “Our communities are composed of the poor, the elderly, children and persons living with disabilities. Additionally, the effects of climate change render them more vulnerable than they already are.”
Sadiya Umar Farouq said the ministry’s response to climate change adaptation has thus far focused on policy reviews and planning. “Notably, the 2019 Disaster Risk Management Policy developed by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) calls for mainstreaming disaster risk reduction in all areas (including climate change and environmental factors as indicated in policy priority, as well as resilience building of at-risk communities to withstand disasters.”
She said the Policy recognises that reducing vulnerability to hazards requires a focus on root causes through hazards vulnerability assessment to foster prevention, mitigation of existing risks and preparation for possible disasters and adaptation to changing climate risk. Furthermore, the Policy presents the interlinkages between climate change action and disaster risk reduction (DRR). It specifically promotes the need to adopt Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and adaptation projects.
She said, “The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and NEMA, are both members of the Ministry of Environment’s, inter-ministerial committee on Climate Change. We align ourselves with the National Adaptation Strategy and Plan of Action on Climate Change in Nigeria (NASPA-CCN) which was developed in 2011, and more recently the National Adaptation Plan Framework which was developed in 2020 by the Ministry of Environment to guide.
“From the humanitarian perspective, we work with the Nigerian National Adaptation Plan which seeks to reduce the vulnerability of communities to the impacts of climate change by building adaptive capacity and resilience. The Plan also advocates for the integration of climate change adaptation into relevant new and existing policies, programs and activities as well as in development planning processes and strategies.
“The reason we are here today is to harness and discuss good practices, programmes and strategies that other countries are using to reduce vulnerabilities of Climate Change. We want to know how to build adaptive capacities and resilience in line with national and international policies and commitments in Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation. Specifically, we want to know how to identify and map out climate change risks better, we also hope to generate political will to implement and finance national adaptation projects as we harmonize inputs and launch a people-centered climate change adaptation in coordination with key partners like the Ministry of Environment, and other relevant MDAs.”
The minister then charged the panel to discuss success stories (country case studies), some of the national, regional and international best practices towards climate change adaptation. They discussed the interlinkages between climate change, livelihoods and sustainable development. There was also “a discussion on why we need to scale up Disaster Risk Reduction as a strategy for climate change action, as well as examine assessment methods.
The panel was charged to propose short-, medium- and long-term climate change adaptation targets/priorities for Nigeria and to examine how Nigeria can leverage on partnerships to bridge gaps and participatory strategies to ensure no one is left behind.
On the panel were: Mr. Amjad Abbashar, of the United Nations Office For Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), Regional Office For Africa, a position he has held since 2016. UNDRR is the UN Agency responsible for reducing existing disaster risk and losses and preventing new ones globally, through the implementation of the targets of the Sendai Framework. Prior to that, he was Chief of the UNISDR Regional Office for Arab States in Cairo, Egypt from 2010 to 2015. Mr Abbashar began his United Nations career in the early 1990’s serving as Programme Officer with the UNDP and has worked in several roles within the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs focusing on inter-governmental matters and policy planning and analyses. He has helped establish the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and United Nations Peace-building Support office and the Human Security Trust Fund.
Sylvie Wabbes is an Agronomist with more than 30 years of professional experience in development, humanitarian, climate and environmental management. She has been working at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for more than 15 years, on emergency and resilience for agriculture and food- based livelihoods systems with most vulnerable and fragile countries. FAO supports strategic programme and positioning on multiple and colliding risks, impacts and emergencies from disaster, climate change, food chain threats and epidemics (including COVID-19) and conflicts, with the aim to build resilient agrifood systems. Sylvie is a co-leader of the UNFCCC Marrakesh Partnership for Global Climate Action-MPGCA and its Climate Resilience Pathways and is engaged in the UN Food System Summit and its Resilience Alliances: the Climate Resilient Food System Alliance; the Resilient Local Food Supply Chain Alliance; and the Fighting Food Crisis along the Humanitarian, Development and Peace Nexus Coalition. It is also noteworthy that Syvlie has worked on environmental and community development issues in Africa region based in Zambia and in Kenya, and has extensive good practices to share from the continent.
Dr. Pasang Dolma Sherpa, is the Executive Director of Center for Indigenous Peoples’ Research & Development (CIPRED) She has been working with Indigenous Peoples, Women and Local Communities for the recognition of the indigenous peoples’ knowledge, cultural values and customary institutions that contributed for sustainable management of forest, ecosystem, biodiversity and climate resilience for more than a decade. She is also the Chair of Specialist Group on Indigenous Peoples’ Customary and Environmental Laws and Human Rights (SPICEH) within CEESP-IUCN, visiting faculty at Kathmandu University, Steering Committee member to the White Papers lead by IPCC, UNESCO and ECOMOS and holds various advisory roles in different forums, networks and institutions both at national and international levels.
Halima Bawa-Bwari, is an Environmental Scientist, a Director in the Federal Ministry of Environment and Head of Vulnerability & Adaptation Division in the Department of Climate Change. She is currently serving the Honourable Minister for Environment as a Special Technical Assistant. Her work covers being a negotiator for Nigeria on Climate Change Adaptation issues, Lead Negotiator and National Focal Point for Gender and Climate Change in the UNFCCC negotiations. She also handles Coastal Resilience, Lake Chad Basin Climate Change Resilience and has overseen Climate Finance issues including the Green Climate Fund, Adaptation Fund and the Green Bonds, amongst others. Halima Bawa-Bwari working experiences cover Nature Conservation and Management, Industrial Compliance Monitoring and Biosafety Management.
Dr. Abubakar A. Suleiman is a Deputy Director in charge of Disaster Management in the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development. He is an Engineer by training that has become a humanitarian by practice. Prior to his joining the Ministry, his research interest was on biodegradable insulation for transformers in the power sector. He obtained his PhD in Electrical Engineering from Universiti Technologi Malaysia and he has more than 3 IEEE Dielectric Journal Publications and over 20 Conferences Papers. Since joining the Ministry, he has supported efforts of Disaster Risk Reduction and Humanitarian activities in the Ministry.