Port Harcourt — A coalition of civil society organisations, policy experts, opinion leaders, academics and other stakeholders has called for an immediate halt on the expansion of fossil fuel extraction in the Niger Delta, as way of mitigating climate change impacts.
The coalition also recommended reforestation schemes, since forests play a crucial role in absorbing carbon dioxide and regulating temperature, as well as awareness creation and mobilization of communities on the dangers of climate change as well as adaptation and mitigation strategies.
This was part of the recommendations made by the coalition at the Niger Delta Climate Change Conference in Port Harcourt, organized by Lekeh Development Foundation with theme, Niger Delta and Climate Change: Imperative for Action.
A communique jointly signed by Executive Director of Lekeh Development Foundation, Mr Nbani Friday Barilule, and 17 other civil society groups, including We The People, Oilwatch Africa, MOSOP, noted that the impact of climate change on the environment and livelihoods increases poverty and unemployment, as well as displacements of the people.
Barilule said the conference was imperative to deepen conversations around climate change impacts and awareness on the negative impacts of fossil fuel extraction and climate change particularly on women and young people living in the region; as well as afford the opportunity to interrogate the climate policies in Nigeria.
The recommendations are, “Implement strategies to help communities adapt to climate change. This includes promoting sustainable agriculture practices, enhancing coastal protection measures, and improving flood management systems to reduce the vulnerability of communities to extreme weather events.
“Encourage reforestation initiatives and protect existing forests as forests play a crucial role in absorbing carbon dioxide and regulating temperature, thus mitigating climate change impacts.
“End the continued illegal and unconstitutional routine gas flaring in the region. Halt the expansion of fossil fuel extraction in the Niger Delta and carry out comprehensive clean up and restoration of the heavily degraded environment.
“Promote and implement recommendations of the Bayelsa State Oil and Environment Commission Report and the demands contained in the Niger Delta Alternative Convergence Manifesto.
“Promote the use of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. Strengthen monitoring mechanisms and invest in early warning systems for extreme weather events like storms and floods. This will enable timely response and evacuation, reducing the risks to human lives and infrastructure.
“There is need to review the Climate Change Act and strengthen climate change policies with the involvement of the Governor’s Forum, Speakers and members of the State and National Houses of Assemblies, Ministries of Environments, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Ministry of Niger Delta are to refocus attention on the impact of climate change on the Niger Delta environment.
“Mainstreaming of women in the climate change agenda in the Niger Delta Region should be strongly promoted to achieve greater results in the fight against climate change. There is a need for the development of a Regional Action Plan on climate change for greater impact with the combined efforts of all State Governments in the Niger Delta.
“There is a need to conduct comprehensive health and environmental audit for the development of effective strategies for mitigation of the adverse impact of climate change in the region. There is a need to refocus and situate the loss and damage concept in the context of the regional and national climate action.”
Follow us on twitter