Archive Nigeria Official Negotiators Missing at UN Climate Talks

Nigeria Official Negotiators Missing at UN Climate Talks


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Nigeria_COP19-1-e1384212973653By: Hamzat Lawal

Africa’s most populous black nation, big producer of fossil fuels, major contributor to gas flaring, my father land, has no negotiator present in the ongoing United Nations climate conference (COP19) taking place in Warsaw, Poland, as expectations are high in the lead up to the 2015 global climate agreements.

Nigeria is one of the most vulnerable countries in sub-Sahara Africa suffering from the negative impacts of Climate Change with changes in temperature, rain fall patterns, low agricultural yields, lost in forest reserves, security challenges among others.

After the deadly 2012 floods, families fled their homes, increasing the statistics of internally displaced people and increase in water borne diseases, a setback in the fight against malaria and other diseases, while also increasing rural urban migration, mostly among young people in the lake chad region as a result of alternative livelihood.

Philippines has just been hit by Typhoon — a clear indication of the negative impact of climate change which has taken over the country. Many people have lost their loved ones, infrastructure destroyed, leaving communities in darkness in the coming months. My friend from Philippines, Carlie Labaria, with her country’s delegation are here at the COP19 negotiations.  She is lucky to be here in Warsaw but her family is facing the direct impact of this disaster. Some of her friends and their families back home was not as fortunate as her, as most of them lost their loved once and homes during this period.

On Wednesday, 11 September 2013, the President fired some ministers after a cabinet reshuffle affecting the Ministry of Environment, politicizing and appointing the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Goodsday Orubebe in an acting capacity to oversee the activities of the Ministry. Apparently, with the role being played by the Minister, this indicates that he has no idea about the significant or importance this has negatively our economy and social wellbeing in coming months if this trends continue. The Permanent Secretary of the environment ministry, Mr. Taye Haruna, a senior civil servant who is supposed to adequately brief our confused Minister is not taking this seriously and apparently those not give a dam.

Three weeks back, during the Third Annual Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA-III) at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which also serve as a preparatory meeting towards the COP19 climate talks, Nigerian President did not send representatives or any official delegation to this crucial meeting that seeks to provide transformative development in the African continent and the fight against climate change as a continent.

I wonder and it irritate me thinking our President has an environmental background. Is this how Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Nigeria’s President hopes to lead the nation is achieving the Vision 2020 development agenda?

Is this how we want the international community to see us? Is the ministry of environment now used as a means to appreciate political friends who has no idea of the main issues? Is this how we are going to be the leading developing economy as a nation? Is this how we hope to access the climate funds being made available for adaptation? Is the upcoming elections in 2015 much more important than the future of the country in mitigating and adapting towards the effects of climate change? Is this a responsible government with interest of her citizen at heart? Is this how we hope to achieve the vision 2020 development agenda for Nigeria? Do we have to wait until disasters happen before taking actions?

The future of Nigeria depends on how our government plan ahead on national issues of importance and how we can collectively mitigate and adapt against climatic threats as the COP19 climate talks provides a road map to the next global climate binding deal.

As I write this post, my prayers and thoughts are with the entire people of the Philippines and neighboring countries.

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