By Zakari Usman
Recognising the role of Nigeria to speak with one voice along with other African countries on the Road to Paris and desirous that this one voice should be that of and be informed by realities of the local communities; and the fact that non-state actors contribution to the UNFCCC and the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) processes and its outcomes are essential for informed policy formulation and monitoring of its implementation at all levels, representatives of the Nigerian Civil Society under the aegis of Climate and Sustainable Development Network of Nigeria (CSDevNet) met for two days in Abuja recently to assess Nigeria’s level of preparedness for the post-2015 era.
The two-day event which began with a media roundtable on Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a National Consultative Workshop on Nigeria’s Road to Paris was organised by Climate and Sustainable Development Network of Nigeria (CSDevNet) in collaboration with the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) and the Pan African Media Alliance for Climate Change (PAMACC).
With participants from CSOs, Media, Regional and International Development Partners, grassroots community practitioners, farmer cooperatives, youth, women and faith-based organizations, stakeholders expressed concerns that the Post-2015 process in Africa and particularly Nigeria, is experiencing needless delays, slow response to INDCs submission, lack of robust preparation and inadequate participation/involvement of civil society, media and women groups in the country.
CSDevNet’s National Network Coordinator, Atâyi Babs, in his welcome address declared that now is the time to lay strong foundations for the future and ensure that Nigerian perspectives are strongly reflected in the INDCs and Post-2015 development framework. Such framework according to him, “must anchor on a genuine global sustainability and low carbon development pathway, and must reflect the integrated link on social, economic, cultural and environmental dimensions of development.”
“Any development agenda that fails to integrate these dimensions in a balanced way is not feasible for addressing present and future development challenges in Nigeria,”Babs added.
Speaking on the state of West Africa’s preparations for the Paris COP 21, Mr. Bougonou K. DJERI – ALASSANI of the Environmental Policies and Regulations Division of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) revealed that in addition to the preparatory meetings and capacity building workshops for negotiators and other actors, the sub-regional body is also working towards the adoption of a regional roadmap for Paris which recognises adaptation, loss and damage, agriculture, mitigation, financing, and transfer of technology as sub-regional priorities.
According to Djeri-Alassani, ECOWAS is actively working on achieving a common West African position in collaboration with WAEMU, CILS, IUCN and BOAD as well as key civil society organisations in the sub-region.
On the gender flank, Priscilla Achakpa of the Women Environment Programme (WEP) expressed disappointment over the non-involvement of Nigerian women in the road to Paris preparations and SDGs processes in Nigeria. “UNFCCC decisions reflect the need for gender considerations in the development and implementation of policies, programs and projects, including ensuring the full and effective participation of women in all levels of decision-making,”Achakpa stated.
She further urged the government of Nigeria to create formal space for women and gender civil society organizations to debate, streamline and strengthen the positions, and engage effectively in the UNFCCC climate change negotiations; include Nigerian women in the list of negotiators; make provisions for robust gender component in the Nigerian INDCs; and organise capacity building initiatives aimed at strengthening the negotiation skills of Nigerian women.
In a presentation on media and COP 21 expectations, Chief Executive officer of the Environnews Nigeria, Michael Simire urged Government, Civil society groups and organisations to change their approach to the media as the road to Paris gathers momentum across the globe. According to Simire, “the media should be a vital part of the development process just as journalists must continue to adapt to the ever-changing dynamics of climate reporting across the globe.”
In its declaration, the workshop, noted that “in view of the fact the urgency for action is underpinned by climate science and the window of opportunity for avoiding dangerous climate change is rapidly closing, Nigeria should without delay set out how it intends to reduce emission from now until 2020, and set long term climate targets to make sure we limit temperature increase to below 1.5°C.”
The statement further advised Nigerian authorities that in communicating its INDCs to UNFCCC, it should be clearly stated that ambitious climate targets needed to keep the globe within the emissions budget should be shared based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.
All Parties to the UNFCCC, including Nigeria, are expected to submit INDCs in advance of the Paris Climate Change Conference, which will take place in December 2015. While Nigeria is yet to submit its INDCs, those submitted by 1 October 2015 will be included by the Secretariat in a synthesis report on their aggregate effect by 1 November 2015. Parties are anticipated to agree on a global climate change agreement to take effect in 2020 at the Paris Climate Change.