Response of government and individuals dominate conversation, as OrderPaper Nigeria hosts high-level discourse on climate action featuring policymakers, bureaucrats, civil society leaders, top business executives and active citizens.
The challenge of food shortage in Nigeria, among other major impacts, has been identified as one of the resultant effects of climate change in rural areas.
This viewpoint was expressed on Friday, 30th June 2023, at a high-level discourse put together by OrderPaper; Nigeria’s foremost parliamentary monitoring organisation and policy think tank, to raise public awareness on climate action as a very vital national and global issue.
The event held on Twitter in celebration of this year’s International Day of Parliamentarism, held on 30th June annually to mark the founding of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in 1889, featured prominent thought leaders who spoke on Implementing Nigeria’s Climate Change Act (The Journey So Far).
Dr Irene Robinson-Ayanwale, Divisional Head, Business Support Services Division\General Counsel at the Nigerian Exchange Group, one of the panellists at the discourse, stressed the possibility of food shortages due to climate change, particularly in rural areas. She thus urged all stakeholders, including government and non-governmental organisations to break down, simplify and contextualise information on climate change and action before dissemination.
Other panellists who were featured in the discourse include Hon. Samuel Onuigbo, Sponsor of the Climate Change Bill (now Act) in the 9th House of Representatives, and Vice President of the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE), as well as Obialunanma Nnaobi-Ayodele; Co-Chair (Non-State Actors), of the National Steering Committee, Open Government Partnership (OGP) in Nigeria.
“I think it’s important that we are able to simplify these things but also contextualise them to everyday life. So for farmers, they understand that ordinarily, there is a time for planting and harvesting. There is a time when the rain starts and when it ends. Climate change is also resulting in food shortages and it is the rural areas who do not ordinarily have the resources to provide some sort of a shock absorber to this.
It’s important that we take this out there, not just from a point of the CSO. I mean, there are also a number of agencies, both private and government-owned institutions, that provide information that we might not ordinarily think of as information that would help people with mitigation and adaptation strategies.
For instance, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, every year, publishes a guide to rainfall. It basically shows you a prediction of when the rain will start and end, local government by local government. Having access to those kinds of documents will help farmers to be better positioned and you can adopt some mitigation strategies because it also affects livelihood,” she said.
Dr Robinson-Ayanwale further noted that the Climate Change Act introduced provisions making it mandatory for certain companies to make commitments with respect to their Green House Gas (GHG) emissions in terms of volume and deduce over the cause of time based on carbon allowances introduced by the National Council on Climate Change (NCCC).
“Companies need to start coming up with project, activities and strategies that ensure that they are running their operations and activities in a more sustainable manner. It also means more focus around renewable energy, use of locally made products and materials, which would mean less use of fossil fuel, in terms of logistics to import things and Companies will now have to reaccess their business in line with that.
The normal electricity that we are all using emits GHG emissions. If you are using generators to power your house, you are using GHG emissions. If you go from place to place using your car that are powered by petrol or diesel, which are called fossil fuels, then, you are in face emitting GHG emission and these are part of the things contributing to global warming globally as well as in Nigeria,” she added.
For Obialunanma Nnaobi-Ayodele, she emphasised that provisions have been made for public engagement to facilitate easy monitoring.
“Interestingly, the Act does have provisions where it speaks specifically to the role of women, young people, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and so on. These provisions are towards monitoring the plans, programmes and participating in advocacy.
Whenever you make this sort of information publicly available, it is now possible that communities and stakeholders are able to engage from a place of knowledge and then it’s possible for them to start to procreate strategic responses to those issues that have been raised,” she said.
In celebration of this year’s International Parliamentarism Day, the IPU chose a campaign theme of ‘Parliaments for the Planet‘ to mobilise parliaments and parliamentarians to act on the climate emergency. As a way to drive the domestication of climate action, OrderPaper, in partnership with Citizen by Zikoko, a web magazine focused on helping young Nigerians understand politics, policy and governance, hosted the discourse as part of its periodic Online Parliament Series tagged OPEN (OrderPaper Parliamentary Engagement Nigeria) Space.
Hosted by Oke Epia, Founder/Executive Director of OrderPaper Nigeria and member of the OGP National Steering Committee, as well as Ms. Comfort Onyaga, Founder of Izanu Africa, the conversation was highly interactive, featuring questions and comments from participants.