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FEC approves new policy on environment

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the revised National Policy on Environment.

The Minister of Environment, Mrs Amina Mohammed, announced this while briefing State House correspondents on Wednesday in Abuja on the outcome of the FEC meeting.

She said the policy framework would provide better opportunity to engage with states and local governments as well as communities in executing the priorities of the change agenda.

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“We took a memo to council today for the Revised National Policy on Environment.

“It was first formulated in 1991, and last revised in 1999 the second revision will be in 2017.

“It has really become imperative that we have this new policy framework.

“Because what we really wanted to do was to capture some of the emerging issues that have come since then as regards the environment.

“These concerns such as climate change, coastal erosion, desertification, erosion, pollution and insecurity that has been exacerbated by struggles for environment resources.

“And we see this in our country at all levels.

“What the policy does is to look at all the different inter-sectorial issues that we have, whether it relates with water, health, power and agriculture and bring them in to have a multi sector response to the environment.’’

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Mohammed said that the greater part of the policy sought partnership with the private sector and communities for sustainability of the environment.

The minister also said that the stakeholders looked at funding and issues associated with it.

She said the policy brings innovative ways of looking at financial frameworks to attract more resources to different aspects.

She mentioned renewable energy as a very big opportunity for the country to exit fossil fuels in power generation.

“However, it is the sector where the cost is often not reachable for majority of people and we are finding new ways of bringing that to fruition and making sure that the policy takes care of it.

“There are many issues within the policy environment and many Nigerians are asking what we are doing about it.

“The regulatory agencies coming together to look at the situation and making sure that the policy takes care of it.

“The regulatory agencies coming together to look at deforestation which is now at an alarming rate and has brought us below five per cent for its cover.

“There are issues on waste and how we can look at the producers’ responsibility,’’ she added.

The minister said government was also looking at the country’s diversity to see that many of its wetlands are opened up from some past constraints to strengthen livelihoods.

On the recent crisis in Delta over dump of toxic wastes and water pollution, Mohammed said the ministry had sent a team of regulatory agencies to the area to secure the site and find out who dumped the waste.

On her new job at the UN, she said that Nigeria signed many UN resolutions that could give the country partnerships to bring expertise and resources on development and climate change agenda.

According to her, being at UN brings Nigeria closer to decision making on a lot of global issues, including afforestation, deforestation programmes and renewable energy.

“We do have some major challenges that are considered a concern to the global village.

“So bringing from Nigeria real issues and some solutions that we know better than others can give us an edge to bring those solutions closer to fruition.

“I believe that in the next two weeks or so the UN Security Council should be visiting Nigeria.

“When it does we will be showing them exactly what the President has been highlighting, that nexus between poverty, conflict and climate change.

“They will visit the North East and they will see some of the root causes of our young people being dragged into the life of terrorism,’’ she said.

Mohammed noted that the programmes the ministry envisaged for NESREA on the reduction of carbon emissions in the FCT would continue up to 2019.

She added that the ministry achieved a major breakthrough in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry to reduce the Sulphur content in fuel.

According to her, Nigeria was getting 3,000 Parts Per Million (PPM) of sulphur to fuel, adding that this has been reduced to 50 PPM being the acceptable standard.

The minister said that the green bond project was on course and would be available by the end of April.



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