Nigeria government attitude towards climate change is no exception from other burning issues in the country. Nigeria with high vulnerability impacts of climate change is yet to commit to the Conference of the Parties (COP) 21. While virtually all other countries have submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat. But, Nigeria that needs the supports of advanced economies to access climate funds is yet to submit INDC.
The 2015 Paris Climate Conference is just two days away and is a very important event for global development. UNFCCC Secretariat says it “aims to achieve a legally binding and universally agreement on climate change, with the aim of keeping global warming below two degree Celsius”. COP21 is the ground finale of a diplomatic 2015 after the first two events. These are the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa in July and adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in New York in September.
Important of INDC submission
The 2015 Paris Climate Conference is an opportunity to address impacts of climate change at all levels. It calls for the responsibility of every party drafting INDC on how to mitigate and adapt to climate change. However, government institutions in Nigeria are indifferent to increasing climate change impact in the country. It is uncommon to see growing desert encroachment, flooding, warming and all other indicators of climate change in Nigeria.
Unfortunately, Nigeria government is indifferent to the opportunity COP21 offers. The Department of Climate Change under the Federal Ministry of Environment is responsible for drafting INDC and to submit it to the UNFCCC Secretariat by October 1st. However, as at today, among 152 countries that have submitted, Nigeria is found wanting. Therefore, the UNFCCC synthesis report will exclude Nigeria’s contribution. If smaller nations in term of resources like South Sudan, Eritrea, Yemen and Equatorial Guinea with lesser vulnerability to climate change when compared with Nigeria have submitted their INDCs. Then what is the government excuse after several workshops on INDC in Nigeria?
This attitude toward climate change will only lead the country to the dearth of climate finance. The permanent secretary to the ministry of environment identifies “conditions associated with climate funds and lack of capacity in preparing implementable projects” as major constraints to accessing funds. However, we had robust GDP growth in the last decade or so. However, it was not on a sustainable path. Because there is still growing extreme poverty and widening inequalities figures in the Nigerian economy, for example.
Final words on INDC submission
A situation of non-submission of INDC to the UNFCCC attests to Nigeria’s poor ranking of 173 out of 184 countries by the Norte Dame Global Adaptation on readiness. It measures a country’s ability to leverage investments and convert them to adaptation actions. I think among the changes Nigerians want to see from the government is a proactive approach to matters arising. This proactiveness is really needed in climate change programmes in my own opinion than any other issue.
Nigeria cannot afford to miss out from the likely climate deal in Paris; it will be like rolling back all the growth we have attained in recent years. Therefore, as a culture of fire brigade approach (as it is always in sports, politics etc.) that is synonymous to Nigeria is needed for us to actively be part of COP21.