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Why Centre for Development Support Initiatives supports petition seeking implementation of climate law

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Recently, the Centre for Development Support Initiatives (CEDSI) joined over 60 civil society organsations (CSOs) in Nigeria to sign a petition urging President Muhammad Buhari, Attorney General Malami and the Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi, to urgently Implement the Climate Change Act.

CEDSI was proud to join the move to urge the Nigerian government to urgently implement the Act for many reasons but, most especially because of the expectation that the implementation of the Act will help to motivate climate action at the subnational level especially in the Niger Delta where climate action is seriously lagging.

The importance of taking targeted and well-coordinated action to address climate change in Nigeria can hardly be overemphasised. Climate change is displacing thousands of people in the Northern Nigeria and contributing to the growing insecurity that is threatening Nigeria’s existence. In the Niger Delta, climate change is causing coastal erosion, sea level rise and saltwater intrusion and unprecedent flooding which is affecting millions of people annually.

So far, Nigeria is not taking enough action to address the multiple impacts of climate change in the country. Despite having an ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) and many other lofty climate policy documents, action on the ground has not matched up the aspirations outlined these policy documents. Moreover, much of the discussion on climate in Nigeria has concentrated at the national level in Abuja without being cascaded down to the states and sub national levels where the impacts of climate change are felt daily.

Hence, when President Muhamad Buhari signed the Climate Change Bill to create the Climate Change Act, the Centre for Development Support Initiatives (CEDSI) was very excited. We saw in the new Climate Change Act an opportunity for Nigeria to increase its action on climate change. Critically, we saw in the Act as an opportunity to increase climate action in the 36 states of the country.

As an organisation that has been working to enhance climate action in the Niger Delta, we are hoping that the Act will help to promote the work we have been doing to promote awareness, policy and action.

Hence, when President Muhamad Buhari signed the Climate Change Bill to create the Climate Change Act, the Centre for Development Support Initiatives (CEDSI) was very excited. We saw in the new Climate Change Act an opportunity for Nigeria to increase its action on climate change. Critically, we saw in the Act as an opportunity to increase climate action in the 36 states of the country.

As an organisation that has been working to enhance climate action in the Niger Delta, we are hoping that the Act will help to promote the work we have been doing to promote awareness, policy and action.

We are surprised and disappointed that the Federal Government is delaying action on the Act when the impact of climate change is driving more and more people into poverty in the Niger Delta and Nigeria at large.

The CEDSI has worked with multiple partners to promote community action at the state level with a focus on the Niger Delta states. The recent establishment of the Rivers Network of NGOs (RINNGOS) has served as a strong platform for harnessing multiple partners and building capacity of NGOs in climate governance.

The CEDSI has been expecting the Federal Government to commence the implementation of the Act in order to leverage that to increase more awareness and stimulate action at the state level. In the meantime, CEDSI is continuing in its effort to work with other partners to push for the domestication of the Climate Change Act in Rivers State. We are working hard to engage the three arms of the River State Government in fighting climate change. We hope that the recent petition sent to the President will result in quick action on the Act.

CEDSI also wishes to thank the Society for Planet and Prosperity (SPP), Centre for Climate Change and Development (CCCD) of Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu Alike, and Global Environmental and Climate Conservation Initiative (GECCI) for organising the recent awareness workshop for civil society leaders on the Climate Change Act for bringing in experts that provided detailed information on how the implementation of the Act can help Nigeria take a leadership role in fighting climate change in Africa.

By Mina Ogbanna, Centre for Development Support Initiatives (CEDSI)

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