By Eyituoyo Amuka
The stark reality of the effects of climate change is gradually dawning on Nigerians with the drought, flooding and heat waves being experienced around the world.
This has brought to the fore that the most pressing concern facing the planet presently is the need to tackle climate change.
In Nigeria however, the Lagos state government, visionary in thought and deed has recently concluded the 9th international Climate Change Summit with the theme: “Integrating Climate Actions in Lagos Development: Investment Opportunities and Trade-offs.”
The summit was a call on the need for government and stakeholders to accelerate the development and adoption of innovative climate technologies.
According to the governor, represented by his Deputy, Obafemi Hamzat, the summit was an opportunity for government and private sector to rub minds on issues affecting the environment and Lagos is setting the pace to tackle climate change with its action plan, enacted with special emphasis on protecting women, children and people with disabilities.
“The summit avails government and the private sector the opportunity to speak on various issues mitigating against the environment. Climate change, which has the most pressing effect on the environment, reflects the variations in the average daily weather conditions such as temperature, humidity, rainfall and sunshine of a location over an extended period.
“It also threatens the social and economic growth in sectors dependent on climatic conditions.
Sanwo-Olu explained that Lagos State being 2 meters below sea level has led the charge to face squarely this critical climate issue by launching the Lagos Climate Action Plan: the 2nd five-year plan spanning ”2020 – 2025” which highlighted evidence-based inclusive action which would help create a more resilient Lagos for all had started to deliver rewards. ”Here in Lagos, our status as a littoral state puts us at the mercy of rising sea levels. It cannot be over-emphasized that we are witnessing the increasing interdependencies of systems. With each passing year, the risks of unabated climate change mount,” he stated.
He disclosed that “the State Climate Action Plan has begun to also as well attracting the attention of critical supporters and partners like the UK Government grants to the Lagos State Waterways Authority to improve the ferry services across the State which will further support the government’s efforts to provide a truly multi-modal transport network for Lagos, with the consequent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions associated with road transportation.
Sanwo-Olu stressed that the state government since last year has embarked on updating its Development Plan, incorporating climate adaptation and mitigation components in each sector.
According to the Governor, the mainstreaming and integration of climate action into our growth strategies, investment plans and institutional structures is a prerequisite and foundation for mobilization of public and private sector financing to achieve “net-zero,” adding that without the right structural foundations, financing will fail to achieve the desired goals.
Speaking at the event, the Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tunji Bello called on stakeholders to combat the climate change crisis, noting that “there is the need to accelerate development and adoption of innovative climate technologies, business models and financial mechanisms to support green economic growth.”
“It has become more expedient for all of us; the government, leaders of thought, organized private sector and individuals to embark on deliberate and consistent efforts to combat the Climate Change Crisis if we and our future generations will have a place to call home,” he said.
The Commissioner stated that in a bid to combat the climate change crisis, the State Government through the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources has signed up to the 15 million pounds UK AID Climate Action Implementation Programme, which will support cities to accelerate the implementation from their Climate Action Plans (CAPs).
He added that the State Government also was at an advanced stage of completing work on the Lagos Climate Adaptation and Resilient Plan, CARP.
Meanwhile, participants at the Summit urged the State Government to engage the Federal Government in developing a mechanism for accessing Green Fund from international organisations towards addressing the effect of Climate Change in the State.
In the communiqué issued at the end of the two-day summit, the participants suggested that Lagos State Government should also organise dialogue sessions with the Private Sector to map out strategies for climate finance in the State while considering the launch of the Green Climate Fund.
It added that governments at all levels – Federal, State and Local – should put in place funding mechanisms for easy access to renewable energy, considering the huge energy requirements for the State’s teeming population, just as it implored the State to incorporate resilience to long term impacts of climate change and extreme weather events.
According to the communiqué, there is a need to include resilience strategies in the planning and implementation of Lagos Infrastructure Development Initiatives while embracing the integration of the value of natural capital into Urban Planning and Development.
In the agricultural sector, according to the report, Lagos State was requested to promote Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) as a panacea for addressing Climate Change induced food insecurity and put in place an Action Plan with a robust Legal Framework to ensure food security in the State.
“The State Government, through its various Youth-focused programmes, should create the required platform for the involvement of youths in the implementation of Climate Action Plans in the State and accelerate efforts at issuing its first green bond to facilitate investment in climate change response”, the report said.
The communiqué urged the private sector to support Lagos State in establishing and financing a training institute for the development of technical human power for the green economy.
It recommended that the State should maximise the use of its waterways for mass transportation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as it also emphasised the need address infrastructure development . We look forward to the launch of the N20 billion Green Fund by year end as promised by His Excellency.