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Nigeria backs hosting of COP26 in 2021, pledges to raise climate ambition

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As the world grapples with coronavirus, the Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) and decision to shift the UN Climate Change Conference to November 2021.

Italy is assuming the COP26 Presidency in partnership with the United Kingdom.

The Minister of State for the Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, in a tweet following the announcement of a new date, said the Nigerian government supports the development by the COP Bureau after its meeting on 28 May this year.

Ikeazor also explained, “with the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on the environment and livelihood, the annual summit on Climate Change was originally slated to take place in Glasgow, United Kingdom by November this year.

“With the pre-COP events to be held by co-host Italy in September and October, which was postponed due to the crisis, the new date will give Nigeria time to prepare and deliver on negotiations mandates on Climate Action.”

The minister further stressed that Nigeria will keep the momentum of mitigating climate change in gear while maintaining the World Health Organisation Safety Protocols on Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are working on National Determined Contributions and raising the ambition for climate action, aim at rebuilding post-Covid-19 recovery for a greener, resilient and sustainable environment in line with the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.

Similarly, the Regional Ambassador for Sub-Saharan Africa on COP26, Paul Arkwright in his tweet described the new dates as good news, ‘‘looking forward to working with Africa to maintain momentum on climate change.”

He also said the primary considerations for the new date was brought about by the COVID-19 crisis, which were to safeguard the health and safety of participants, and to ensure inclusiveness and maximise the potential to build climate ambition.

“This would enable the host country to ensure a focus on finance, energy transition and adaptation as partners for African to host COP27. COP26 Envoy, John Murton and COP26 Lead Negotiator Archie Young jointly signed the rescheduling of the global annual event.

‘‘Our priorities when considering the new date were: the health of participants, the representation of Parties and Non-Party stakeholders, allowing time for preparation of work to deliver on negotiations mandates and the ambitious and inclusive event.”