By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
The recently concluded 14th National Council on Environment has advocated stronger synergy between the National Assembly, the Federal Ministry of Environment and critical Stakeholders towards ensuring a more robust legislative process that would drive environmental policies, programmes and projects implementation.
This is one of the communique at the 3-day meeting, with theme “Managing Emerging Environmental Challenges: Need for Strategic Approach to Sustainable Development in Covid-19 Era and Beyond” in Abuja.
A press release signed by Mr Saghir el-Mohammed, Director, Press, Federal Ministry of Environment said the communiqué was unanimously adopted by members of the council, following a motion for its adoption by Dr Mohammad Abubakar, Minister of Environment.
The communiqué urged government at all levels to ensure that efforts were geared towards empowering the most vulnerable groups, particularly the youth and women.
It added that the effort was to create employment opportunities in line with the Federal Government’s agenda of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within the next 10 years.
“The effort was to avert drastic decline in economic growth and environmental protection in the post COVID-19 era.
“It has become imperative to shift from the current linear economic model, which was based on resource extraction, production, distribution, consumption and waste generation to a new circular economic model.
“The model is based on sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible,’’ the communique explained.
The meeting was attended by 451 Participants that included Honourable Commissioners responsible for environment matters from the various States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Permanent Secretaries, Chief Executives of related Federal and State Ministries and Agencies, Officials from Federal and State Ministries and Agencies, Development Partners, Non– Governmental Organizations, (NGOs), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), the Academia and members of the press.
The communiqué said:
(i) That in order to avert drastic decline in economic growth and environmental protection in the post Covid-19 era, it has become imperative to shift from the current linear economic model, which is based on resource extraction, production, distribution, consumption and waste generation to a new circular economic model( which is based on sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible), that is resilient and guarantees decarbonization and mitigation of climate change for long term sustainability. (ii) That Government at all levels should ensure that our environmental management/protection efforts are geared towards empowering the most vulnerable groups, particularly our youths and women, to create job/employment opportunities for them, in line with the Federal Government’s agenda of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within the next 10years. Such programmes to be pursued in collaboration with the private sector and development partners would include waste to wealth, afforestation/reforestation, agro-based/smart agricultural projects etc.
(iii) That there is the need for a stronger synergy between the National Assembly, the Federal Ministry of Environment and critical Stakeholders towards ensuring a more robust legislative process that would drive environmental policies, programmes and projects implementation. (iv) That there is the need to support the ratification of the National Framework for the Application of Climate Services (NFACS) jointly presented by the Ministries of Environment, Agriculture and Aviation on the heels of a presidential directive to the Federal Executive Council (FEC). The ratification will ensure that climate information was made seamlessly available to all citizens especially the bottom-most affected to get valuable information to avert unwanted situations. (v) That there is the need to fully operationalize the national GHG inventory management system for sustainable data collection at state levels and all sectors and to accommodate the carbon registry. (vi) That in order to avoid the incessant loss of lives and property witnessed annually during flooding, the State Governments were urged to continually strengthen their efforts in preventing flood occurrences, including identification of communities living on the flood plains and their relocation as appropriate. (vii) That there is the need to vigorously advocate and sensitize all tiers of Government and the citizenry on the paradigm shift of using Nature-Based Approach/Solutions to Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience for Sustainable Environmental Management in line with global best practices. (viii) That there is the need for the establishment of a social media platform that would forester closer interaction among Council members, and also supports the promotion of environmental awareness, education, communication and advocacy for sustainable development. (ix) That there is the need to strengthen the States’ technical capacities in sustainable forest and Land management practices, including the promotion of agro forestry practices, particularly in the post covid-19 era. (x) That there is the need to specifically address the issue of abandoned mine pits across the country in conjunction with the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to drastically reduce the adverse impact on the environment and human lives. (xi) That there is the need to effectively improve sanitation and hygiene practices among the populace through collaborative efforts of all stakeholders i.e. the three tiers of Government, the private sector, and Non-Governmental Organizations to ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to and use appropriately environmental sanitation and hygiene facilities. (xii) That the Federal Government deserved commendation for developing the national policy on solid waste management and national policy on plastic waste management that support the principles of circular economy and waste to wealth entrepreneurship programmes for the empowerment of the most vulnerable group, precisely youth and women. (xiii) That sound management of chemicals and waste was essential to turn the tide on biodiversity loss and protection of human health, hence, it has become imperative for the Federal and State Governments to mainstream chemicals management into their development plans. (xiv) That the existing measures geared towards the prevention of illegal dumping of waste, especially plastic and e-waste in the country, should be strengthened, and in this wise, there should be strong synergy among all MDAs involved for effectiveness. (xv) That the Federal Government deserved commendation on clean cook stoves initiative and urged states to replicate the distribution of clean cook stoves to significantly contribute to the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) for climate adaptation and resilience. (xvi) That a national framework on one-health approach should be developed, encompassing all sectors through Inter-Ministerial/Agency Committee under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Environment. (xvii) That the National Policy on Environment should be reviewed to incorporate emerging environmental issues, including the development of a framework on green economy. (xviii) That all MDAs should factor environmental issues into their annual budgetary proposals. (xix) That the Federal and State Governments should ensure effective implementation of all the resolutions taken at Council meetings. (xx) That States should utilize the Ecological Funds as a source of intervention to mitigate ecological challenges in their States. The Ecological Fund Office should also involve the States in the monitoring of ecological projects sited in their domain (xxi) That the States deserved to be carried along in the implementation of Ministry’s projects and programmes in their domains.