OrderPaperToday- Speaker of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Mohammed Sidie Tunis has called on Members of Parliament to place more emphasis on the environment, through the various interventions they carry out in their countries and constituencies.
It further urged the Standing Committees at the ECOWAS Parliament of the Committee on Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources to promote synergy that will promote interventions that will tackle climate change.
These and many more were part of the prayers contained in an address delivered by Speaker, Side Tunis during the 144th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly meeting held in Nusa Dua, Indonesia.
The theme for this year’s IPU meeting: “Getting to Zero, Mobilizing Parliaments to Act on Climate Change.”
The speech read as follows, “Let me begin by thanking the Parliament of Indonesia for the kind reception and hospitality in this beautiful city of Bali.
Today, the world is experiencing rapidly rising temperatures in the summer, harshness of the winters, and the droughts shriveling up vegetation. I could go on listing these changes we have all experienced in the past few decades. Climate change is an unavoidable change that is devastating our planet and a threat to the existence of life on earth.
The call for action was resonant all over the world and to some degree, successes were recorded in slowing down the degradation of our planet. However, it is now time to mobilize communities, nations, and regions.
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Members of Parliament should place more emphasis on the environment, through the various interventions they carry out in their countries and constituencies. They should not only focus on areas like agriculture, education, health, and other infrastructural development issues.
Rather, there should be mainstreaming of climate change in all our national budgets. Each sector of the economy should incorporate this phenomenon in its budget planning process.”
Meanwhile, Tunis stressed the need for national policies and reasons why all Parliamentarians should be equipped with adequate knowledge on the issues of climate change.
“Furthermore, there should be national policies on climate change and Members of Parliament should be provided with adequate knowledge on adaptation and mitigation measures.
In the ECOWAS region, many countries are experiencing severe droughts, deforestation, desertification, flooding, coastal erosion, disease outbreaks, famine and food shortages because of climate change.
To redress these challenges, the ECOWAS Commission, with the full participation of the ECOWAS Parliament, and other stakeholders, has drawn up a strategic programme for reducing vulnerability to climate change in West Africa.
The ECOWAS Commission expects Members of Parliament to be proactive and support the climate change programme through sensitisation campaigns on the use of renewable energy, alternative sources of charcoal and wood consumption across the region, and the formulation of laws to mitigate the negative effect of climate change.
“It is worth mentioning that, because treaty negotiations are an executive action, Members of Parliament are generally not involved. Upon conclusion of such negotiations, it is imperative that Members should be given adequate briefing on the objectives, background, content and expected outcomes of such agreements. This would foster their understanding and possible buy-in into the agreements. It would also ease ratification by the various Parliaments.
One of the Standing Committees at the ECOWAS Parliament is the Committee on Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources. To promote synergy, this Committee works closely with the Department of Agriculture, and Environment, of the ECOWAS Commission on all policy and programme implementation issues on the Environment and Climate Change.
I wish to recall some major accomplishments through the organisation of delocalised Committee meetings on climate change. Some of the recommendations of these meetings such as ensuring that substantial budgetary allocations are made and climate change issues mainstreamed in national budgets of member states were adopted.
To conclude, I call on all Members of parliaments across the world to come together to mobilize the necessary actions to combat this climate menace. We need to unite. Together, we are stronger and it is only when we are together that we shall succeed,” he emphasised.