The Africa Climate Summit has brought together African leaders, with a goal of defining a shared vision for green development on the continent of 1.4 billion people ahead of the COP28 meeting in Dubai later this year. With climate change eating away at Africa’s GDP, a point highlighted by the summit’s host, Kenya President William Ruto, FRANCE 24’s Annette Young is joined by Dr. Chukwumerije Okereke, Professor in Global Governance & Public Policy in the School for Policy Studies at the University of Bristol in the UK.
Prof Chukwumerije Okereke, an internationally recognised climate expert and an awardee of the International
The two-day event that held from August 15 to 16, 2023, focused on “Climate Change: Science and Policy” on the first day and on the second day the focus was on “Effective Climate change communication”.
The recipient of the award, Prof. Okereke, took the participants through the selection process of the IVLP participants, saying: “You cannot apply to participate in the IVLP, participants are nominated and selected annually by staff at US Embassies around the world and the participants are current and emerging foreign leaders in a variety of fields.”
He listed some notable IVLP alumni to include: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the United Kingdom.
On the topic “Understanding the links between climate change and air pollution: causes, impact, and solution”, the guest speaker, Dr. Daniel Ugwu of David Umahi University of Health Science, stated that the link between climate change and air pollution is that both are a product of greenhouse gas emission. Improper waste disposal and indiscriminate burning of refuse dump stands are the major cause of air pollution in urban areas, Dr. Ugwu maintained.
According to him, some of the solutions to air pollution in urban centres include: awareness creation, and reviving eco-friendly traditional values and practices, among others.
Prof A. Moneke Director of the Centre for Environmental Management and Control at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, while speaking on “Gas flaring and air quality issue”, stated that air pollution in Nigeria contributes to untimely death and other ailments and that it will be great if the training of young climate leaders can expand to other parts of the country especially the South-South geopolitical zone where the issue of gas flaring is almost making the area inhabitable.
“Planting trees around the environment will make Nigerians healthy by giving oxygen as against the common practice of using concrete slabs that produce heat,” Prof Moneke stated.
On effective climate change communication, Dr. Chinwe Ogunji of Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ebonyi State, and Mrs. Ogechi Nwonye, Executive Director of Eco-Cyclersboth, agreed that the greatest difference between communicating climate change and other science topics is the call to action either explicit or implicit to reduce the effects of climate change.
The action can come through climate change education to raise awareness on the impact of climate change and take the lead on how to protect the environment as climate change affect all and sundry, the duo stated.
They maintained that, to communicate climate change effectively, the following tips are helpful: having a grip of climate change, listening to open dialogue, and showing people the link between human activity and climate change.
There was a presentation on the impacts of climate change in Enugu State from the Director of Climate Change Department, Enugu State Ministry of Environment, Mr. Arum Nnamdi, who stated that Enugu State is being threatened by desert encroachment and that, if care was not taken through tree planting, the situation might get worse.
He listed some local governments currently battling erosion in the state as: Udi, Nsukka, and Igbo Etiti, among others. During the rainy season, some communities in Aninri and Oji River Local Government Areas of the state are always affected by flooding, added Arum.
The highlight of the two-day of training was the visit of the new commissioner for Environment and Climate Change in Enugu State, Prof. Sam Ugwu, who assured the young leaders that his office would be happy to partner with young climate activists on ways to better the environmental condition of the state.
“I will like to work with you the young climate leaders because your activities are part of the core values of the state Ministry of Environment so I encourage you to do proposals to the ministry on areas of collaboration,” Prof Ugwu stated.
He promised the young leaders that he would ensure that the Enugu State environmental law is passed so that the environmental protection of Enugu State will have strong legal backing.
The awardee, Prof. Okereke, stated that the next step of the project would include planting trees within Enugu by the young leaders and doing climate change education in selected secondary schools within Enugu city. He asked the participants to design any campaign on climate action that they will like to run as a way of implementing what they have learned from the training.
The project is funded by the United States Department of States with Meridian International as their implementing partner.
By Elochukwu E. Anieze
First published in www.environewsnigeria.com
Africa Policy Research Institute (APRI) and the Centre for Climate Change & Development, Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike Nigeria (CCCD- AEFUNAI), in collaboration with the Department of Climate Change (DCC), Federal Ministry of Environment Nigeria held a workshop to discuss and share knowledge about climate change adaptation in Nigeria.
The workshop brought together key policymakers, civil society organisations (CSOs, non-organisation organisations (NGOs) and other relevant stakeholders to develop key policy priorities for locally-led adaptation to climate change in Nigeria.
Executive Director of APRI, Dr Olumide Abimbola, said: “APRI has a dedicated focus to providing policy options and alternatives to African policymakers and civil society actors. We provide valuable insights into the power of locally-led adaptation and the transformative potential for building climate resilience at the grassroots level.”
This was underscored in the presentation of deep-dive case studies of locally-led adaptation actions in Anambra, Lagos and Ogun states by Dr. Chukwueloka Okeke, a Research Fellow at APRI, who showed that local communities were at the forefront of climate adaptation actions, but were mostly limited by lack of access to funds and relevant information to be effective and sustainable in their efforts.
A senior non-resident Fellow at APRI and Director of CCCD- AEFUNAI, Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke, stressed the importance of locally-led adaptation actions by noting that numerous ethnic groups and indigenous peoples of Nigeria had been carrying out adaptation actions for centuries, but the scale, extent, and efficiency of their actions had not been fully evaluated. “So, we need to make sure that we are really highlighting those local practices that can help and then attracting international funding to scale them up.”
The Director of the Department of Climate Change, Dr. (Mrs.) Iniobong Abiola-Awe, noted that Nigeria has made stringent efforts toward enhancing its adaptation action plans by developing several national action plans and policy frameworks such as the National Adaptation Framework with the objectives: “to clarify the country’s approach to its national adaptation process and serve as a reference point for bringing together various adaptation planning efforts from different sectors and scales of decision making”.
The Head of the Climate Change Programme at APRI,
Dr. Grace Mbungu, said: “Release of this report comes at a critical juncture, as the world grapples with the impacts of climate change. It serves as a call to action for policymakers, practitioners, civil society, and the international community to enhance support for locally-led climate change adaptation strategies”. She then commended the researchers, practitioners, and stakeholders who have dedicated their expertise and time to produce this comprehensive study.
Meanwhile, the event attracted a diverse audience, including representatives from government agencies and ministries, civil society organisations (CSOs), non-governmental organisations (NGOs), academia, youth, and private sector representatives. Participants highlighted the importance of developing synergies between all key stakeholders in a way that would enhance the delivery and implementation of the climate adaptation plans of Nigeria in line with Nigeria’s Nationally Determined Contributions, National Adaptation Plan Framework, other national climate action policies and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This comprehensive report delved into the critical issue of climate change adaptation and explores locally-led strategies and initiatives to address the challenges posed by climate change in Nigeria, identifying barriers and enabling factors for adaptation to inform the country’s Nationally-Determined Contribution (NDC) implementation.
The report, which is based on rigorous research and case studies conducted across various ecological zones of Nigeria, highlights the growing impact of climate change on vulnerable communities and ecosystems. It sheds light on the importance of locally-led adaptation as a key approach to building resilience and safeguarding livelihoods in the face of climate-related risks.
The report also underscores the significance of placing local communities at the heart of climate change adaptation efforts.
During the event, speakers emphasised the importance of collaboration in climate change adaptation and the role of locally-led initiatives.
The Director, Centre for Climate Change and Development Alex Ekwueme Federal University (AE-FUNAI), Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke, has expressed dismay over the negligence of the local people in intervention efforts on climate change adaptation and mitigation in Nigeria.
Prof. Okereke, who is also a Senior non-resident Fellow at APRI, stated this during the final stakeholders’ workshop organised to share the key findings of the project on understanding the effectiveness of Local Communities in taking necessary action through locally-led adaptation (LLA) which started in 2022 with sponsorship from Africa Policy Research Institute (APRI) Berlin, Germany, in close collaboration with the Centre for Climate Change and Development (CCCD) of AE-FUNAI and the Department of Climate Change (DCC) of the Federal Ministry of Environment, held in Abuja on Tuesday, August 8, 2023.
Prof. Okereke lamented what he described as “over-concentration” of intervention efforts at the national and sub-national levels at the negligence of the local people who are sometimes the most vulnerable. He pointed out that the often-neglected local people possess potentials such as intelligence and resourcefulness in innovating ways of adapting to climate change. These potentials, he said, must not be overlooked by policy makers.
Prof. Okereke cautioned against Mal-Adaptation which causes more problems in the bid to introduce adaptation strategies. According to him, adaptation strategies should be context-specific and context-sensitive if they must effectively address existing problems. He encouraged capacity building of human resources through training and re-training so as to achieve country and community ownership for sustenance of project results and recommended practices.
Speaking on the project context, Dr Grace Mbungu, Head of Climate Change Programme, APRI-Berlin, noted that much work had been undertaken by individuals on climate adaptation with several climate change adaptation and mitigation plans and frameworks in Nigeria, yet the status of available adaptation practices is not clear in the policy documents, thus no clear assessment of implementation gaps and locally led processes.
Dr. Mbungu further advocated for Nigeria’s adoption of a bottom-top approach during decision-making process by involvement of vulnerable communities and stakeholders in order to harness their ideas, local knowledge and practices. Through this strategy, she said that Nigeria can mainstream locally led adaptation (LLA) in her adaptation plans which would ensure effective, efficient and equitable adaptation action implementation.
In her opening remarks, the Director, DCC, Dr Iniobong Abiola-Awe, who represented the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, expressed happiness on the high turnout to the workshop amidst the short notice. She reiterated the impacts of climate change as experienced by everyone today in all aspects of life hence the need to assess the adaptation strategies adopted by communities to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
Dr Eloka Okeke, senior research fellow, APRI-Berlin, while presenting the report of the project, made a summary presentation of findings from the project. Dr. Okeke explained that the project focused on the experiences of the three case study communities, their adaptive strategies, best practices and pathways, gaps and challenges. The presentation elicited comments and questions from participants including passionate appeals to extend the project to the other parts of the country and the integration of climate change education into the curriculum of schools for improved awareness creation on climate change concepts and issues.
In his brief remarks, Prof Chinedum Nwajiuba, the immediate past Vice-Chancellor of Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike, reminded the participants about the contributions of NASPA-CCN in creating a pathway for climate change adaptation and mitigation plans and framework for Nigeria.
The final stakeholders’ workshop was attended by the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Environment represented by Dr Iniobong Abiola-Awe, Director, Department of Climate Change (DCC); Dr Abimbola Olumide, the Executive Director, APRI-Berlin; Dr Grace Mbungu, Head of Climate Change Programme, APRI-Berlin; Prof Chukwumerije Okereke, Director, CCCD AE-FUNAI; and Prof Chinedum Uzoma Nwajiuba, immediate past Vice-Chancellor, AE-FUNAI.
Other participants included representatives from civil society organisations (CSOs), policy makers, think-tanks from the academia, and representatives of student groups, among others.
The APRI project report was presented and launched by the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Environment, represented by Dr Abiola-Awe of the DCC.
The workshop was aimed at working closely with key policymakers, CSOs, NGOs and other relevant stakeholders to develop key policy priorities for locally-led adaptation in Nigeria as well as launching of the flagship report titled “Unlocking Adaptation Potential: Insights into Nigeria’s Climate Change Policies, Initiatives, and Local Actions”.
This comprehensive report delves into the critical issue of climate change adaptation and explores locally-led strategies and initiatives to address the challenges posed by climate change in Nigeria, identifying barriers and enabling factors for adaptation to inform the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) implementation.
The report, which is based on rigorous research and case studies conducted across various ecological zones of Nigeria, highlights the growing impact of climate change on vulnerable communities and ecosystems. It sheds light on the importance of locally-led adaptation as a key approach to building resilience and safeguarding livelihoods in the face of climate-related risks. The report also underscores the significance of placing local communities at the heart of climate change adaptation efforts.
During the event, speakers emphasised the importance of collaboration in climate change adaptation and the role of locally-led initiatives.
By Chinwe Ogunji
First published in Environews
Prof Chukwumerije Okereke in partnership with Society for Planet Prosperity, Center for Climate Change and Development AE-FUNAI and Eco-Cyclers is implementing the International Visitors Leadership Program Impact Award Project (IVLP) project funded by the United States Department of State.
The aim of the project is to create awareness about the problems of air pollution, deforestation, and climate change in the city of Enugu, and also empower young intended climate advocates to become more skilled and effective campaigners for climate action.
The project intends train young climate leaders on the topic of urban air pollution and the contribution of urban space greening in addressing the challenges of climate change and air pollution in cities.
Part of the training will include taking air quality measurements with the young leaders to paint a real-life picture of the air quality situation in the city.
The training will be accompanied by tree planting activities in the city of Enugu and a visit to three secondary schools in Enugu by the young leaders to raise awareness on climate change and air pollution as well as the role of tree planting in urban spaces in addressing the challenges.
To apply kindly click on the link: https://bit.ly/3O9mGvN