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Nigeria seeks for more foreign support for climate change action

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The Federal Government of Nigeria has called for more foreign support for climate change action to boost the country’s economy.

Sen. Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, made the call during the inauguration of the Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT) Project Steering Committee and commissioning of the Project Consultants on Tuesday, February 21, 2023, in Abuja.

Ngige was quoted as making the call in a statement signed by Olajide Osundun, Director of Press and Public Relations in the ministry.

The minister said that the support was imperative as it affected the oil and gas, “which is the mainstay of the country’s economy’’.

According to Ngige, with more support for Nigeria on its journey to a just and gender-inclusive transition, the country will arrive at the destination.

“This will lift people out of poverty, creation of new jobs and moving away from old habits that were not technological dependent,” he said.

He, however, described labour as very important in fulfilling Nigeria’s international commitments to climate change action including Paris Agreement and the achievement of its energy transition plan.

The minister said that the world was trying to stop pollution from hydrocarbon and that the ministry had taken the lead to crystallise its ambition to be part of the global world initiative.

“I approved the project for the ministry, domiciled it under the Department of Special Duties and Project and formed a steering committee with five directors and the Director General of National Directorate of Employment (NDE), to represent the ministry in this high level discussion.

“It was inaugurated on Nov. 18, 2022 at the COP 7 meeting,’’ he said.

“In the spirit of that cooperation, ICAT is supporting the government through the ministry to develop a Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) of a just and gender-inclusive transition and serve the entire gamut of the project.

The minister said that his ministry coordinates the project, working in a compartmentalised mode, but synergising with the Federal Ministry of Environment, “which is the lead ministry on climate change initiatives’’.

Ngige said the ministry aimed at achieving a kind of institutional memory, stakeholder inclusion and cooperation by working with its environment counterpart.

On the labour compartment, Ngige said they dovetailed down to adopt a tripartite cooperation between the government, organised labour and the employers association in Nigeria.

He, however, called for the expansion of the net to get more organisations like the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), among others.

He expressed optimism that the overall outcome of the project would support policy makers to set up everything needed on this transition journey on climate, especially with the implementation of Paris Agreement and Nigeria’s energy transition plan.

He said that Nigeria must also be able to feed itself, adding that appreciable progress had been made in agriculture since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office in 2015, leading to many Nigerians currently consuming locally produced rice, beans and potatoes, among others.

Regarding child labour, Ngige said the government wanted to stop parents using their children to work in their farms and therefore urged the committee to synergise with his ministry on this.

Ngige, therefore, commended the Director of ICAT, Dr Henning Wuester, for his support to the project.

Earlier, Wuester said transparency played a key role for the achievement of the objectives of the Paris Agreement being the basis for planning, tracking and stakeholder engagement.

According to him, ICAT offers tools, methodologies and directs reports to the countries to the agreement on how to plan, design effective policies and implement them.

He said ICAT was also tracking, monitoring of the implementation of these policies and measures to see whether everything was on track or the course needs to be rectified.

Wuester, however, listed South Africa and Indonesia among countries that have similar projects, who were receiving funding to ensure just and inclusive transition.

He said that Nigeria had always been part of ICAT community, while commending them on the successful project concluded last year with the Environment Ministry, which helped to establish transparency for oil and gas and transport.

“We want to launch to cover industrial sector and formulate policies for just transition. It is hoped that this collaboration will continue with Ministry of Labour,’’ he said.

A gender expert, Dr Martina Nwodu, noted that women were closer to the environment.

“This is because they are the home mangers who provide domestic energy by using firewood and charcoal gotten from the forests, which leads to desertification.

“Even as farmers, women deploy crude methods that degrade economy because they do not have modern farming implements.

“If the women could be involved in the climate change action, they could act as change agents to help combat climate change impact on the environment,’’ she said.

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