President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Paris appealed to the international community to support Nigeria’s commitment to reducing the effects of climate change.
In a submission to the One Planet Summit attended by over 60 heads of state and governments, as well as representatives of non-governmental and private organisations, the President said: “We cannot implement our Nationally Determined Contribution without adequate financial, technical and capacity building support from the developed countries.”
Buhari’s appeal came as the three co-chairmen of the plenary session, the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, the World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim, and the French President, Emmanuel Macron, stressed the need for a global, comprehensive and speedy action, including private sector financing against the devastating impact of climate change.
Buhari noted that although the country had been strengthening efforts towards implementing the Paris Agreement and the Marrakech Call for Action, plan to reduce its emission by 20 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2030 cannot be attained alone. “Having just come out of recession, we are under no illusion of the challenges we face in Nigeria,” he said.
According to him, “Nigeria recognises that ensuring sustainable funding is a major constraint in efforts to implement the Nationally Determined Contribution. To respond effectively to climate change mitigation and adaptation challenges, critical mass of financial resources beyond what we can provide from our national resources will be required.”
On steps Nigeria has taken to meet its national goal in this respect, he said the country “embraced the issuance of the green bond as an innovative and alternative source of projects funding that would help reduce emissions and provide robust climate infrastructure, such as renewable energy, low carbon transport, water infrastructure and sustainable agriculture in line with the Paris Agreement”.
In furtherance of efforts to deliver on the country’s pledges, he noted that government was “tightening the existing governance structure for more effective implementation of climate change activities, including the additional responsibilities that are consequent on adoption of the all-encompassing climate change treaty”.
Government was actively promoting technologies and practices such as sustainable land management, climate resilient agriculture, water efficiency, clean energy, and skills for reducing greenhouse gas emissions among others, Buhari said, stressing that sustaining these efforts would require external support.
Other measures included “accelerating research and development on facilitating access to climate friendly technologies, through technology pooling and collective approach to financing research and development, regulating restrictive practices in licensing agreements and anti-competitive uses of intellectual property and international declaration on climate technologies”.
He said: “In Nigeria, we are looking at insurance-based proposals to deal with loss, damage and adaptation to the poor, vulnerable and hard-to-reach groups. Risk mitigation through insurance must benefit those groups who currently have negligible access to any form of indemnity coverage. Vulnerable groups will also benefit from new technologies and ways to make insurance schemes affordable, including through long-term premium support.”
He said Nigeria would require “a long-term solution for a source of clean power, which can be achieved through private investments to create economic competitiveness for industrialisation, job creation and agricultural programmes throughout the country; and the inclusion of Nigeria in climate regional programmes, especially strong financial support to our planned project for the replenishment of the Lake Chad”.
The President noted: “This long-term solution will ensure sustained livelihood for rural and urban communities, and permanently address the conditions conducive to the spread of violent extremism and terrorism, and stem illegal migration especially of our youths abroad.”
Acknowledging that external support must be sustained on a long-term basis, Buhari said: “The changes Nigeria and other developing countries need to make cannot be undertaken overnight.”
He said he looked up to developed countries to jointly take a leading role in mobilising support for addressing the challenges of climate change within the framework of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
The UN scribe had in his earlier address warned that governments who failed to bet on a green economy would be living in a grey future.He said the Paris Agreement laid the basis for ambitious action, but regretted that countries were not winning the war on climate change, which is “the defining challenge of our time”.
Guterres noted that everyday in every region front pages are dominated by weather-related disasters such as storms, floods, droughts and fires. He lamented current financial commitment by governments, saying it was not enough to address climate change problems.
Buhari had before the summit attended a luncheon hosted by his French counterpart in honour of visiting heads of state and governments at the Elysee Palace.