From Emmanuel Iyoho
President Mohammadu Buhari has reiterated the determination of his administration to strengthen national response to climate change and accelerate the implementation of decisive actions to reduce its impacts on the people and economy.
Inaugurating the council before the commencement of the Federal Executive Council meeting, the President said it marked the commencement of the implementation of the Climate Change Act 2021 and a new chapter in the renewed response to climate change in the country.
Buhari charged the National Council on Climate Change to formulate appropriate policies toward achieving green growth and sustainable economic development for Nigeria.
He reaffirmed that Nigeria is a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is an established international treaty to combat “dangerous human interference with the climate system”, in part by stabilizing Green House Gas concentrations in the atmosphere.
He said,’ ”It is against this background that in November 2021, after COP 26 in Glasgow, I signed the Nigeria Climate Change Act despite noticeable implementation challenges inherent in the Act, to set the framework for mainstreaming climate change action, carbon budgeting and the establishment of the National Council on Climate Change.
“The council is tasked with the responsibility of formulating appropriate policies and other mechanisms for achieving low Green House, Gas emissions, including green growth and sustainable economic development for Nigeria.
”In a clear demonstration of our commitments as enshrined in our Nationally Determined Contributions and the Net Zero-Target by 2060, I also approved, on 25th July 2022, the appointment of the Director General and Secretary for the National Council on Climate Change.
”It is imperative therefore that those lapses earlier alluded to – which includes the establishment of states and Zonal offices creating a huge and costly bureaucracy is not acceptable. The Act also takes out the commissioners of environments from the states as members of Council, it also did not make transitional provisions capturing the work of the Inter-ministerial Working Group.
”This group was responsible for Energy Transition, the supervisory oversight of the Ministry of Environment and the establishment of an executive management structure at the secretariat level to support the DG in running the council secretariat.
”Accordingly, I hereby direct the attorney-general and minister of justice in conjunction with the minister of Environment to initiate the appropriate amendment to reflect these observations.”
Ahead of COP27 in Sharm El Shiekh, Egypt, the President expressed optimism that the National Council on Climate Change would harmonise all issues relating to Climate Change, Energy Transition Plan, Emissions Trading Scheme and the Carbon Trading Framework, in line with its mandate under the Act, so that Nigeria can have a robust and impactful outing that captures Nigeria’s Climate Change priorities.
He said the composition of the council is a reflection of the magnitude of the problem and the seriousness of our response, adding that it comprises the highest level of governance and a representation of all key sectors of the economy.
The President also directed the attorney-general and minister of justice, in conjunction with the minister of environment to initiate appropriate amendments of ”noticeable implementation challenges” inherent in the Act.
Buhari also used the occasion to thank Vice President YemiOsinbajo for heading Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan, presiding over the global launch of the plan and initiating its marketing by engaging key stakeholders in the United States.
He urged the Council to consolidate on these first steps and ensure a sustained marketing of the plan.
In his remarks, the minister of environment, Mr Mohammed Abdullahi, thanked the President for ”walking the talk” on climate change at the international, regional and national level, demonstrating immense leadership towards Nigeria’s quest for net-zero by 2060.
The council is chaired by the President, with the Vice President as vice chairman, chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, is also a member.
Other members of the council are the ministers responsible for Environment; Petroleum Resources; Budget and National Planning; Justice; Mines and Steel Development; Finance; Agriculture and Rural Development; Power; Women Affairs; Transportation; and Water Resources.
The governor of Central Bank; the national security adviser; President of Association Local Governments of Nigeria; a representative of the private sector on climate change or environmental related matters (representative of National Conservation Foundation); a representative of National Council on Women Societies; a representative of National Youth Congress, and a representative of the Civil Society Organisationare also members of the Council.
Our correspondent reports that the director-general of the National Council on Climate Change, Dr Salisu Dahiru, will serve as Secretary.