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April 14, 2024

FG Seeks Urgent Action on Climate Change

Due to Nigeria’s rising sea levels which  threaten southern cities, the Federal Government has said the impact of climate change on food security, water, hygiene, and sanitation (WASH) services across the country deserves urgent and decisive action.

To become the most economically buoyant nation globally, cities  such as Lagos and coastal areas, with increasing vulnerability to flooding and waterborne disease are to be given utmost attention to address  climatic conditions. 

Professor Joseph Utsev, the Coordinating Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, stated this in a message to stakeholders at the National Workshop on State Action Plan on Climate Change in Abuja.

He revealed that Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, has the highest rate of deforestation in the world, losing 3.7% of its forest every year.

According to a UN report, drought and reduced rainfall, combined with rising air temperatures, inhibit the country’s hydropower systems and hinder agricultural production and fishing, reducing food security and negatively impacting health and nutrition.

Due to these myriad challenges, the workshop was convened to enable stakeholders to brainstorm on possible solutions to climate change.

Professor Utsev, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Alhaji Aliyu Shinkafi, said the country’s waters have been the most affected by climate change, threatening the nation’s quest for food security, hygiene, and sanitation.

According to him, climate change has adversely affected the nation’s water infrastructure resulting from unfriendly environmental activities; hence the need for urgent climate solutions for the country to meet SDGs 6 and 13.

‘’The impact of climate change on the sector is profound and far-reaching. Climate change has created immense pressure on water infrastructure, causing pollution, and disrupting water availability as well as water supply systems and sanitation.

“ The signs of climate change are becoming more distinct, and the time for climate action is now.’’

He said Nigeria can only tackle climate change head-on with effective collaboration amongst all stakeholders. 

He appealed to the participants to use the platform created by the workshop to create workable solutions to the menace threatening the country’s attainment of food security and WASH services.

Dr Jane Bevan, the UNICEF Chief of WASH, said Nigeria was ranked second among the countries with the highest climate risk in 2024, with the possibility of outbreaks of waterborne diseases, stressing that Nigerians must start putting in place readiness and disaster risk prevention mechanisms.

He expressed optimism that, with adequate preparedness and a well-articulated action plan, Nigeria would be able to access external funding to mitigate climate change and its attendant challenges.

Other participants at the event unanimously agreed that there was a need to start embracing friendly environmental practices such as tree-planting, clearing blocked drainage channels, and drafting a good national action plan to enable the country to access some foreign support to address climate change.

The event drew participants from the government, the private sector, and foreign donor partners.

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