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Coordinated Sub-National Climate Action: Key To Nigeria’s Sustainable Development – SPP

Nnaemeka Oruh, Senior Policy Analyst, Spp
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The Society for Planet and Prosperity (SPP), a civil society organisation (CSO) led by foremost Professor of Environment and Governance, Chukwumerije Okereke, has said that Nigeria can leverage on coordinated climate action at the subnational level to achieve sustainable development.

This assertion was made by Nnaemeka Oruh, Senior Policy Analyst, SPP, during an interview at the Democracy Radio, Abuja, on Tuesday, July 2, 2024.

While clarifying that the impacts of climate change are mostly felt at the State and Local Government levels, Mr. Oruh bemoaned the fact that not so much is being done at the subnational level to address the long-standing climate change issues which range from desertification and land degradation to flooding and erosion in the north, and in the south respectively.

He stated that, in order to fully grasp the extent of climate change impacts and the resultant actions being taken at the subnational level to address them, the Society for Planet and Prosperity (SPP) embarked upon a research in close collaboration with the Department of Climate Change (DCC) of the Federal Ministry of Environment, and the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) in 2023 to produce a first-of-its-kind survey of subnational climate impacts entitled “Climate Impacts, Policies, and Actions at the Subnational Level in Nigeria” which was launched in November by the Minister of State for Environment, Dr. Iziaq Adekunle Salako, in the company of the Director General of the Nigeria Governors Forum, and other stakeholders.

Mr Oruh said: “To further measure the extent of climate action and governance at the subnational, SPP, in collaboration with the DCC, has just concluded a ranking survey scheduled for launch in Abuja on July 25, 2024.”

According to him, the ranking survey graded all the 36 states’ climate action performances using five criteria: administrative institutions; policy and action plan; budget and finance; implementation, monitoring, and evaluation; and online visibility.

He said the ranking survey, set to be launched, is aimed at gauging the extent of states’ performances in order to identify where gaps exist so that stakeholders can then take action in closing them. He attributed a success story from the mapping exercise done last year as instrumental to the current effort to help Enugu and Taraba states develop comprehensive climate change action plans.

While regretting that climate action is not given the level of importance and urgency it deserves by the government and people of Nigeria, Oruh said that ironically, by advancing climate action, Nigeria can actually address most of her developmental and everyday needs.

Oruh highlighted few recommendations for Nigeria to take climate action and consequently tackle some of her developmental and everyday needs: increase existing level of investments in renewable energy to address the perennial energy crisis in the country; provide clean cooking options for rural women to save them from health implications of unclean cooking; leverage on climate-smart agricultural practices to address food insecurity; provide jobs; and address the insecurity that comes from fighting over scarce arable lands, among others.

“Nigeria’s subnational comprising of 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory, together with its 774 Local Government Areas suffer from a disconnect between federal policies and subnational implementation,” he emphasised.

In closing, the Climate Change Policy Analyst said: “SPP believes that there is need for proper coordination between the federal and the subnational with subnational climate actions linking with the global and federal, but also reflecting the unique needs of each component of the subnational. This coordinated action is the only way Nigeria can meet her climate change goals and also leverage on the process to engender sustainable development.”