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IVLP Impact Award Climate Leaders Pay Visit To Enugu Govt

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Renowned climate change governance scholar and advocate, Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke, has coordinated the visit of young climate leaders to the Enugu State Government House to share and discuss their vision for how Enugu state might become a greener and more resilient city.

The visit to the Enugu State Government on Thursday, December 21, 2023, is one of the activities planned as part of the implementation of the International Visitors’ Leadership Programme (IVLP) impact award given to Prof. Okereke by the U.S. Department of State Bureau for Education and Cultural Affairs. The IVLP impact project which was implemented in partnership with the Society for Planet & Prosperity, the Centre for Climate Change & Development (CCCD) of the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, and Eco-Cyclers as designed to train young climate and environmental advocates from Enugu State and environs on the role of urban greening in combating urban air pollution and climate change.

Thirty-one young climate leaders were selected from a pool of over 4,000 applicants to participate in the prestigious training programme.

The purpose of the visit was to inform the state administration about the activities carried out under the project’s activities and their impact. These activities included a two-day training on climate change, urban greening, and air quality measurements. It also included a climate education exercise involving over 7,000 children from three public secondary schools in Enugu, as well as the planting of over 100 economic and ornamental trees in strategic locations throughout the city. Young leaders also took advantage of the visit to express their vision and ideas for transforming Enugu into a green and climate-resilient city in keeping with the city’s reputation as a clean, ambient, and family-friendly metropolis.

The young leaders were accompanied in the visit by the Commissioner for Environment in Enugu State, Prof. Sam Ugwu.

The SSG, Prof. Chidiebere Onyia, was very delighted to meet with the young leaders, stating that the present government in Enugu State, under the leadership of Barrister Ndubuisi Mbah, is taking the issue of climate change seriously. The evidence can be seen in the modification of the state Ministry of Environment to accommodate climate change and the appointment of some senior officials in the climate change sphere to ensure success and sustainability.

The SSG also informed the young leaders of a proposed trust fund for climate-related activities, which will benefit the young leaders once implementation commences. The target is to plant about 10,000 trees around the Awhum axis in the Udi Local Government Area of the state as a pilot.

The team presented the two artworks to the SSG on behalf of Prof. Okereke. The presentation was done by Ogechi Nwonye, Basil Ojengwa, and Elochukwu Anieze. The SSG appreciated the young leaders and promised to ensure that the members of the team are carried along when the implementation of the trust fund is flagged off.

The Commissioner pledged to contact the young leaders once the tree-planting campaign is underway so they can join forces with the stage government to make it a success. Both the SSG and the commissioner commended Prof. Okereke for the initiative and his wider contribution to manpower and sustainable development in Enugu State, describing him as a worthy ambassador of the state.

By Elochukwu Anieze, Research Fellow at the Centre for Climate Change and Development, AE-FUNAI