Stakeholders have called on Governors of the Niger Delta region to adopt regional approach and raise more awareness in climate management.

This was part of resolution reached at a 3-days climate conference in Effurun, Delta state.

The conference was packaged to find solutions to environmental change concerns, fill the existing knowledge gaps in climate management, useful in policy influencing and governance of the Nigerian environment and Niger Delta.

The conference was organised by a non-profit organisation, African Centre for Climate Actions and Rural Development (ACCARD) Initiative in collaboration with Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun (FUPRE), Delta State.

Freeman Elohor Oluowo, the Centre Coordinator for ACCARD said, the yearly meeting was organised to bring together key stakeholders drawn from the academia, private sector, civil society organisations as well as governments and their regulatory agencies to localize climate solutions as well as formulate adaptive environmental management plan for the region.

He encouraged states in the region to sustain the regional collaboration established from the conference to better tackle peculiar environment/climate issues.

He further advised the state Commissioners and Directors of Climate Change to use new knowledge of the climate funds and portfolio to pursue green climate projects for their respective states.

Mr. Oluowo urged governors in the region to work closely with civil society organisations and the private sector in building youth capacity.

According to him, ACCARD is committed to engaging state government and climate change departments in the region, to promote environmental safety and professional support to access the different climate funds for the development of Niger Delta and Niger at large.

Other collaborators at the conference held from October 23 to 25, 2019 at Federal University of Petroleum of Resources, Effurun, are: Centre for Environment and Sustainable Livelihood Projects (CESLP), Department of Climate Change – Federal Ministry of Environment, FUPRE – Sustainable and Development Solution Network, African Development Bank (AfDB), Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) and the Climate and Sustainable Development Network (Csdevnet).

The conference amongst others discussed Climate Change issues in the Niger Delta: Problems and Prospects; Climate Finance and Green Climate Funding Possibilities for the Niger Delta; Green bonds; Climate Investments, Sustainable Development Goals in the Niger Delta by 2030 and Environmental Management and the Niger Delta Forestry.

A communique raised at the end of the meeting read;

  • That State Governments in the Niger Delta have done very little or nothing in properly managing the environment and climate of the region, including awareness raising.
  • There is need for the oil and gas companies to increase research funding and collaboration with academic institutions in Nigeria on research development, especially in the areas of their operations.
  • There is still poor implementation of post-Paris agreement in the region, including gas flaring in Nigeria, especially the Niger Delta.
  • NDCs implementation is still on paper and not achieved in climate management of the country. And therefore reiterated the need to constantly engage, develop strategies in the respect in line federal government support for zero gas flaring in Nigeria.
  • That the regional approach in Environmental management achieved through the meeting be maintained and deployed urgently to flood management.
  • The meeting highlighted the urgency for the Federal Government with support from the private sector to realise the modular refinery initiative; will not only promote indigenous people participation in environmental improvement, but also will reduce bunkering activities in the region and the oil and gas self-sufficiency drive for the country.
  • The need to develop youth capacities in climate management and encourage state governments in the region to sponsor young people to the yearly COP meetings.
  • Experts suggested that, Nigerian negotiators at COP meetings and other climate meetings, should negotiate in favour of the Nigerian people and not just what the international communities want.
  • While local people have ways of coping with climate extremes. Both climate adaptation and mitigation in Nigeria is still very poor and would need more funding across the country and for the Region.

The meeting had in attendance a renowned Professor of Environmental Toxicology, Augustine Arukwe from Norwegian University of Science and Technology Engr. Ochuko Odibo from the Nigeria Reddplus project, Dr. Abolo Paul from the private sector, Dr. Felicity Nwakwushue from NOSDRA, Engr. Chika Umahi (an Oil spill consultant), Engr. Udengs Eradiri, Commissioner for Environment Bayelsa state, Engr. Karibo Ezekiel from Shell, Climate Change Directors from Delta, Edo, Bayelsa and Rivers States as well as notable personalities from the academia, private sectors and civil society organization.