Saturday 30 October 2021


 'Climate change (CC) as a security threat in Nigeria' was the subject matter for discourse at Sandralia Hotel, Abuja between the 27th and 28th of October 2021. The parley was hosted by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) in collaboration with Coalition for Socio-Ecological Transformation (COSET). The meeting is a prelude to COP 26 - 26th iteration of UN CC Conference of the Parties holding in Glasgow between 31st October & 12th November 2021. The sub-themes were:

*Assessing CC & armed conflict 

*Gender, youth & CC

*CC & food sovereignty 

*CC & human security (HS) 

*State & non-state actors' responses to CC & security

                                                               Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa

*Dr. Daniel Mann - Resident Representative, FES
*Prof. A. N. Gambo - VC Karl Kumm University, Vom 
*Rinmicit Aboki - Climate Change Specialist
*Rev. Fr. Edward Obi - Catholic Institute of West Africa, Port Harcourt
*Oseloka Obaze - MD Selonnes Consult, Awka
*Dr. Aliyu Barau - Bayero University, Kano
*Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa - Conflict Transformation Strategist, Abuja
*Olumide Idowu - Youth Focal Point @ UNDP Small Grants Programme
*Samuel Wakdok - Economist & Fiscal Sector Researcher
*Ken Henshaw - ED, We The People, Port Harcourt
*Evelyn Ugbe - Head Partnerships/Grants, Women Environment Programme
*Dr. Suwaiba Said Ahmad - Bayero University, Kano
*Titilope Ngozi Akosa - ED, 21st Century Issues
*Dr. Idris Ali 
*Dr. Lohna Bonkat-Jonathan - National Institute for Legislative & Democratic Studies, NASS
*Florence Ibok Abasi - Programme Manager, Stakeholder Democracy Network 
*Dr. Elizabeth Aishatu-Bature - Nigeria Defence Academy
*Chinma George - Environmental & Climate Change Specialist
*Tijah Bolton - Head of Programmes, Policy Alert
*Dr. Sunday Adejoh - Nigeria Defence Academy
*Salaudeen Hashim - Conflict Advisor, CISLAC 
*Dr. Ejike Madu

                   L-R: Dr. Ejike Madu, Dr. Joseph Ochogwu, Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa, Prof. Gambo

Issues of concern were:

*The contribution of the fast shrinking Lake Chad to insecurity.
*The 'new' AK-47-carrying herders in contrast with peace loving herders of yore who lived in harmony with sedentary farmers.
*Enhancing community resilience in the face of CC-induced conflict.
*Un-governed spaces as fertile ground for CC-induced conflict.
*Human-induced environmental degradation.
*The fact that when very old and relatively young trees are felled, unwanted carbon dioxide is released into the air.
*The uncomfortable intersection between CC, environmental degradation & conflict.
*How to transcend from negative to positive peace in affected communities.
*Restoration of indigenous trees through irrigation-free concepts.
*How to mainstream climate-smart agriculture through R&D - e.g. hydroponics, etc
*Interrogating the intersection between the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) & the Great Green Wall (GGW).
*UN 'RED' is donor driven and he who pays the piper dictates the tune. Therefore donor-dependent NGOs/CBOs sometimes engage in 'research' and 'advocacy' that's irrelevant to their communities.
*Environmental matters remain on the exclusive list. The Constitution needs to be amended to embrace the 'democratisation' of intervention in the environment, so that states and local governments would have a grater say/stake.
*Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in the environmental sector.
*Conversion of salt water to fresh water.
*Damage caused by soot in Port Harcourt.
*Effective use of indigenous & local knowledge (ILK) in the environmental sector.
*The vexed issue of limited access to land because of insecurity.
*CC is a problem multiplier: force migration, affects women and men differently, feminisation of poverty, flooding, health challenges for women via CC: e.g. early menopause.
*River Benue drying up.
*More action required on 'NAP on CC'.
*Minimising carbon footprint.
*How to make more 'Keke Napep(s)' use solar energy.
*Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) as a result of CC.
*Gender Based Violence (GBV) as a result of CC
*High warming rates in semi-arid regions: Number of infectious diseases expected to rise.
*Human security dimensions of CC - health, education, etc
*Food Sovereignty (FSo) vs Food Security (FSe). FSe does not necessarily guarantee FSo. This is because you may have enough food to put in your mouth to put hunger at bay - FSe. But is the food nutritious and do you have choice as expected in FSo? For example, Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) in the Military is highly nutritious, containing all the necessary vitamins and minerals - FSo?
*Artesanal/Illegal oil refining and CC.
*Mapping conflict as a result of CC.
*Peace Journalism/Conflict Reporting as regards CC.
*Negative effect of policy somersault in the environmental realm.
*Importance of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for all projects.
*Wanted: National Resiliency Policy (NRP).
*Ecological Fund & corruption.
*Need for a multi-disciplinary approach in the environmental sector.
*State actors vs non-state actors in the environmental sector.

Some recommendations:

*ADR needs to be more rigorously deployed in the environmental sector.
*The Lake Chad should be 're-hydrated'.
*The farmer-herder crisis is CC-induced. Ethno-religious interference should be minimised.
*Environment should be expunged from the exclusive list in the Constitution.
*The Land Use Act (LUA) should be re-evaluated.
*There should be more government presence in currently un-governed spaces.
*Indigene-settler issue should become a Constitutional matter.
*Climate-smart agriculture should be encouraged.
*The GGW should be interrogated alongside the NLTP.
*Technology fo converting salt water into fresh water needed.

The above recommendations are not comprehensive. The conversation continues...

                                                             The conference banner...

20th January 2022


It's only logical that FES holds a post-COP 26 meeting, having held a pre-meeting in November 2021. The meeting held on the 20th of January was a mini post-COP 26 analysis.

Some of the participants are:

*Dr. Daniel Mann - Resident Representative FES
*Dr. (Mrs) Abiola Awe - Director, Dept.of Climate Change, Federal Ministry of Environment
*Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa - Independent Conflict Transformation Strategist, Abuja/
*Priscilla Achakpa -
*Rev. Fr. Obi Edward - 
*Ken Henshaw - 
*Cadmus Atake Enade
*Tito Uzomah/Chinma George/Zainab Yunusa/Olumide Idowu/Rinmicit Aboki/Anne-Marie A - Told their stories from COP26
*Titi Akosa - ED 21st Century Issues
*Hauwa Mustapha - 
*Seyi Adebote

The COP26 analysis was approached from many angles: Gender, government, capitalism, labour, Africa, Nigeria, etc. There are disappointments for civil society in COP26. Market mechanism will not solve the climate challenge. Net-zero postulations defer actions, they are simply functional stipulations. It was an exclusionary conference, only two delegates per Mission allowed. We need to phase out fissil fuel in Africa. But how can we do this when many countries, including Nigeria depend on it for survival? Climate change of people more desirable than COP26?

We need more nature-based solutions and indigenous knowledge (IK) to CC. Other issues raised: Agro-electricity is useful, how realistic are binding global emission levels?, how can countries in the global south flourish in spite of CC?, CoSET should champion a Nigerian corps.

Stories/experiences from COP26:

-Difficult to get accreditation.
-Financing for action panel sessions inaccessible.
-Poor organisation of Nigeria's team/youth working groups.
-Youths need training in Negotiation.
-Financial commitments from UK, Canada sometime not fulfilled. We need to strategise about how to access these funds.
-From COP27, Nigeria should showcase relevant innovation like other countries.
-Many participants were quite intrigued by the side events.

Titi Akosa brilliantly 'unpacked' Article 6 for the audience.

Discussion in the 'alternative space'. What caused CC in the first place? The market. Therefore, can market solutions effectively tackle CC challenges? The private sector (PS) says 'no free money for loss & damage'. Is the 1.5 degreesC benchmark scientifically based? The PS is sometimes more powerful than government. Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Agreement. Africa has less than 3% of the emission. G7 has 97%. PS has introduced 'trading in pollution'. This is a 'false' solution. The PS is creating projects in Africa that would absorb their emissions (carbon capture & storage/de-engineering).

There are number of engagements under Article 6:

-Voluntary engagements - Internationally Transferred Migration Actions (ITMAs)
-Nationally determined contributions (NDCs0
-Common But Differentiated Responsibilities - CBDR

How does Nigeria benefit from Art 6?

-In any project, take care of the human beings, first. 
-Pursue the provision of clean energy vigorously.
-Get the emission reduction certificate that can be traded.
-Think about very BIG projects.
-Divest from fossil fuel.
-Think out of the box.
-Invest more in clean energy.

The 'Just Transition (JT) Declaration'

It started in the 1990s in North America. Coal was to be phased out because of environmental pollution. The workers worried about suddenly losing their jobs. Workers insisted on a gradual transition process which would ensure they don't get suddenly thrown into the labour market. Workers re-trained and formed the Global Workers' Unions (GWUs). Workers ensured social protection was on the cards for them. Then came the Movement for Just Transition in Brazil, etc. There was also Climate Action for Jobs Initiative (CAJI).

Nation-states might not be committed to commitment. Some countries promised $100b annually for the mitigation of CC. JT should be included in the NDC. 

Youth engagement

There have been two youth engagements since 2017. For improved involvement of the youth in climate change matters, we need more data collection, training and innovation. In mid-2020, there was meaningful engagement of young people - Zoom consultation: 300 young people constituted 8 working groups. his was structural engagement of young people with government. Other areas of need for the youth are:

-Inter-generational transfer of knowledge.
-Get to understand the internal and external politics of CC.
-Get involved in cross-border exchanges.
-Nexus between the environment & the economy.
-People should have a conscience about environmental challenges.
-Mentoring needed.
-Tokenism not good enough for the youth.
-The youth should use social media positively to call attention to CC.
-Shadow reporting on CC issues in Nigeria.
-There should be knowledge sharing.
-Implementation of solutions should be localised.
-Could technology for mitigating CC be transferred? I think not.
-There should be accountability.
-Intensive research needed.

In the words of Chkwuma Nwokolo, 'One day, we would rather die than destroy the lives of our children'.

Priority areas for Nigeria/Africa towards COP27

-Key into ECOWAS and Africa's position on CC.
-Ensure complete consideration of some issues e.g. Article 6.
-Explore technology transfer and Indigenous Knowledge (IK).
-Monitor whether countries that pledged $100b annually have delivered.
-Issues around 'loss & damage'.
-Gender issues. Gender focal persons should be strengthened.
-Capacity building should be intensified.
-Response mechanisms to CC should be localised and fit for purpose...
-Interrogate the fact that the results of COP are far slower than the pace of CC.
-Mobilise positions for CSOs and communities for COP27.
-Examine the peculiar impact of CC on women.
-We should be more critical about concepts from the West e.g. net-zero (offset). What does net-zero mean in practical terms for Africa?
-Be mindful of the effect of CC on farmer-herder crisis, drought, asymmetry of structures between Africa and the West.
-We should re-appropriate the logic of collective action by Africans.
-Note that from 2025, international extractive industries can no longer come to Africa to do business, because many countries would insist on 'paying before playing'.
-African leaders should understand the enormity of the CC problem.
-There should be adequate compensations for communities affected by the activities of the 'market'.
-Review of pollution-enabling laws...

The conversation continues...




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