Climate change: No country can fight it alone, Buhari tells UN summit

President Muhammadu Buhari said on Monday that fighting climate change was not a task any single country could succeed in doing alone.

He noted that to succeed, nations worldwide must collaborate to confront climate change.

Buhari spoke in Katowice, Poland, while addressing the opening session of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, better known as COP24.

He cited rising temperatures, desertification, floods, low agricultural yields and drying up of water bodies as some of manifestation of climate change.

For instance, the Nigerian President raised the case of the receding Lake Chad, North-East of Nigeria, where he said communities were already paying a huge price like fall in agricultural activities.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, quoted Buhari as saying, ‘‘Obviously, no country can confront the phenomenon alone. In this regard, Nigeria believes in joint and cooperative efforts to tackle the problem.

‘‘We urge that efforts to address the challenges of climate change be pursued within multi-lateral frameworks. Concerted efforts should be made to strengthen sub-regional and regional organisations to serve as hubs for Climate Action and partnership.”

On the Lake Chad, Buhari informed the summit that up to 40 million lives were at the risk of extinction if it completely dried up. He expressed Nigeria’s commitment to rescue the lake.

The President stated that an international conference held in February this year in Abuja looked into the possibility of channelling water from the Congo Basin into the Lake Chad Basin as part of plans to rescue it.

Buhari, on behalf of the member countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, thanked the Italian government for donating 1.5m Euros toward completion of the feasibility studies on the proposed inter-basin water transfer project.

He spoke further, ‘‘I once again call on the international community to support this worthy project, for the benefit of nearly 40 million people that depend on the Lake for their livelihood, and to guarantee future security of the region.

‘‘I will like to reiterate Nigeria’s commitment to constructively supporting multilateral action aimed at addressing climate change.

‘‘We must re-dedicate ourselves to the task of rebuilding and restoring the healthy environment we inherited for future generations.”

The Presidency said Buhari also seized the opportunity to highlight what Nigeria had done and still doing on climate change after the adoption of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in 2015.

He gave details, ‘‘We in Nigeria have commenced the implementation of our Nationally Determined Contribution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

‘‘In the next 15 years, we aim to achieve 20 per cent emissions reduction below Business as Usual (BAU) and 45 per cent emissions reduction with the support of our international partners by 2030.

‘‘Our efforts include the review and introduction of new responsive legislation/policies, strengthening institutional and manpower capacities, and encouraging gradual transition to low carbon economy.

‘‘Nigeria has also recently ratified the Doha Amendment and will soon deposit the instrument for ratification.”

Other areas he touched on included Nigeria’s desire to pursue industrialisation and economic development.

‘‘In addition, there is the need to raise global climate action in the pre-2020 period, in terms of mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation.

‘‘For us in Nigeria, we are promoting technologies and practices such as sustainable land management, climate resilient agriculture, water efficiency and clean energy.

‘‘We have also developed insurance-based initiatives to deal with loss and damage, as well as adaptation to internally acceptable practices”, the President stated.
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