Concrete policies and laws necessary for climate change response – Minister

By Chuks Oyema-Aziken

The Minister of State for Environment, Barr. Sharon Ikeazor has stressed the importance of concrete policies and laws capable of reducing the country’s vulnerability to climate change and build resilience.

The Minister stated this in her key note address at a 2-day Technical Workshop for the Development of Appropriate Legal Framework and Related Advisory Services through the Climate Change Legal Working Group (CC-LWG) Under the NDC Partnership-Climate Action Enhancement Package in Lagos.

The Workshop was organised by the Environmental Resource Centre (ERC) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Environment, Department of Climate Change (DCC) with support from the NDC Partnership.

The Minister who was represented by the Director, Legal in the ministry, Mrs Helen Obayagbo, said the LWG-CC which is composed of predominantly Legal experts from all relevant Ministries, Departments & Agencies (MDAs) of government, the Private Sector, NGOs and academia was set up to increase legal presence and strengthen the country’s delegations to international climate meetings and negotiations through provision of vital legal services.

“The LWG is also expected to provide technical support to government officials at both the Federal and State levels, Parliamentarians and other policy makers,” she said.

She said Nigeria is already feeling the impact of climate change across all regions.

‘”Major conflicts between farmers and pastoralists over water and grazing lands have been linked to climate change and unsustainable land practices.

Hence, she stated that “It is therefore imperative that the country comes up with concrete policies and laws capable of reducing the country’s vulnerability to climate change and build resilience.

“It is at this point I would like to state the importance of laws and policies in the success of implementing projects and programs. All projects or programs must be backed by National laws in order for it to succeed.

“Climate Change laws make it possible to assign obligations and responsibilities to curbing emissions at national levels, develop appropriate mitigation and adaptation response strategies and enable the country to engage bilateral, multilateral and regional co-operation in tackling climate change, and access climate finance and markets.

“The aim of this workshop therefore, is to provide a platform for stakeholders to assess current legal framework relevant to climate change governance, identify likely impediments to the domestication of the Laws, make recommendations that would strengthen and enhance the implementation of its commitments under the Paris Agreement and develop a road map for continuous legal capacity building on issues relating to the Paris Agreement.

Director, ERC, Mr. Kolawole Falase, in his welcome address said the workshop will enable experts and relevant stakeholders in the field of climate change and the environment come together to interact and gain better understanding of the dynamics of emerging issues as they pertain to the plethora of questions raised in the Paris Agreement and other relevant international climate change laws and conventions.

He said the knowledge gained during the Workshop will be used in reviewing local environmental laws and policies and making recommendations on changes to be made to bring it to conformity with international conventions and laws.

In her opening remarks, the Ag. Director, DCC, Mrs Halima Bawa-Bwari harped on importance of right laws to make Nigeria’s response to climate change successful.

The Environmental Resource Center (ERC) is a lead resource institution established under the laws of Nigeria with a vision to advocate and inspire best practices on environment and sustainable development. ERC is also the Consultant to the NDC Partnership Support Unit on the Climate Action Enhancement Package (CAEP) project offering technical support through coordination of the LWG in line with the CAEP agenda.

ERC has been active in capacity development and advocacy for legal reforms in specialized areas particularly environmental law and is dedicated to ensuring the successful implementation of the core aim of the project which is the implementation of Nigeria’s commitments under the Paris Agreement particularly the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). The secondary aim which is the offshoot of this Program is the passage of the Climate Change Bill which we all agree has been long overdue.

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