Over 35 civil society organizations and key government stakeholders and experts, have reviewed Nigeria’s effort in the implementation of Paris agreement and COP25 outcome in South-South geopolitical zone in particular and Nigeria in general and how COVID-19 may have impacted on the country’s effort.

Coming under the auspices of non-governmental organization, African Centre for Climate Actions and Rural Development (ACCARD), the meeting held in collaboration with Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (Pacja), Climate and Sustainable Development Network (Csdevnet), Nigerian Civil Society Framework on Paris Agreement on SDG’s and Centre for Environment and Sustainable Livelihood Projects (Ceslp) on November 4, 2020 coincidently was the date the United States – the second highest emitter of greenhouse gases officially exited the Paris climate accord.

Historically on June 1, 2017, the United States President under Donald Trump announced that the US will withdraw from the 2015 Paris Agreement.

According to him, the Paris accord would undermine the domestic economy and would place the nation at a permanent disadvantage.

Nevertheless, Joe Biden, arc-rival and now President-elect, in one of his campaign had promised to re-join the peace accord if he wins the White House seat as President.

The US withdrawal no doubt left a huge gap in the global climate fight and funding to developing countries to adapt and/or mitigate growing impact of climate change.

Nigeria like other countries is signatory to the Paris Climate Agreement, has also submitted a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% unconditionally, and 45% with international support by 2030 in meeting the country’s National Determined Contributions (NDC’s) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

With the postponement of cop26 to November 1 to 21, 2021 due to the global health crisis (covid-19), believed to slow down climate effort could rollback previous climate gains.

BIGPEN reports that the meeting, followed the need for countries to urgently review the impact of the pandemic on the implementation of Paris Agreement and environmental condition outcome across the different economy sectors.

Freeman Elohor Oluowo, convener and Coordinator for African Centre for Climate Actions and Rural Development (ACCARD), in his presentation told stakeholders the importance of the yearly cop meeting especially cop21 Paris accord and how it relates to cop25.

Among others, he said “the Paris agreement requires all Parties to put forward their best efforts through nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and progressively strengthen efforts in the year, includes requirements that all Parties report regularly on their emissions and implementation efforts.

In his words, “the industrialized countries unanimously agreed to pay US$100 billion a year by 2020- to help developing countries to decarbonize their economies as well as all to take actions in the entire different sector including transport, agriculture, and energy – to reduce greenhouse emission globally”.

According to Freeman Elohor, Nigeria was also due in 2020 to submit a new and updated national climate action plans, referred to as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to Cop26 but for the pandemic.

The consequent health crisis and shifting of the climate meeting to next year may have negatively impacted on the country’s green growth and clean development effort/strategies, he said.

He concluded by challenging CSOs to look at opportunities to collaborate ongoing effort in the different economy sectors including in agroforestry, to reduce the devastating impact of climate change on people, lifestyle, human and the ecosystems health, for example.

Mr. Godwin Ugah of the Green Planet Initiative in his words, said “the Paris Agreement which is a global framework to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C and to purse efforts to limit global temperature to 1.5°C”.

According to him, “the aim is to strengthen countries’ ability to deal with the impacts of climate change and support their efforts as well as bridge between today’s policies and climate-neutrality before the end of the century.

Stakeholders at the meeting discussed the Katowice package which adopted at the UN climate conference (COP24) in December 2018 contains common and detailed rules, procedures and guidelines that operationalize the Paris Agreement.

While one discussed the role of CSOs to strengthen and support government efforts to progressively implement the outcome of cop25 and Paris Agreement in region and Nigeria at large. The other assessed greenhouse emissions in line with the agreement and what should be done going to cop26 holding from November 1 to 12 in Glasgow, Scotland.

They identified major sources of gas emission to be transportation, energy and agriculture. Some of the solutions suggested included introduction of mass transport system, taxation on cars, index and implementation of laws on vehicle in usage.

Others on energy was the need to advocate the development of clean stove and efficient energy devices, promotion of better energy saving bulbs, encourage use of biogas, gas flaring conversation to safer energy and the conversion of illegal refineries to modular systems. And importantly, advocating for better smart climate agriculture and tree planting.

The stakeholders stated the immediate need for the Nigerian government to transit to cleaner energy sources, for example renewable energy sources, promote effective monitoring and evaluation of all climate funds, program implementation as well as resources utilization.

They admonish CSO to take up campaign for openness, transparency and/or accountability of climate finances. They, however concluded, going forward to cop26 the need for strict monitoring and implementation of climate agreements, if possible.