Experts seek legal backing for Nigeria’s NDCs document

February 23, 2021
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Nigeria does not lack policy or legal frameworks to address the climate change and its effects, what is lacking borders on co-ordination of policies and implementation/enforcement of stipulated regulations.

All these issues came  to the fore when environmental experts  and climate change negotiators gathered  during the virtual workshop organised by  the Centre for Climate Change and Development, Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike in collaboration with World Resources Institute on  the Nigeria’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) document.

Concerned environmental experts at the forum tasked Nigeria’s government to, as a matter of urgency, back its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted under the Paris Agreement with legislation.

Instead of developing new ambition, they argued that enactment of legislation would help to streamline all the policies and institutions relating to climate change within the country.

Apart from providing a legal basis for further action on climate change, they said such law would aid the implementation of the nation’s NDCs.

Themed: “Promoting Public Engagement with Nigeria’s NDC Revision and Climate Action, with a focus on Legal perspectives to raising ambition and implementing Nigeria’s NDCs,” Director of CCCD, Professor Chukwumerije Okereke, told  participants that the forum  became imperative  to examine the nation’s NDCs,  focusing the  legal perspective in relation to experience of  other developed  countries.

However, some speakers attested to the fact that Nigeria has legislative and policy instruments available to guide the implementation of the country’s current NDCs, but would require strengthening.

Director, Climate Negotiations, Climate Change, World Resources Institute, Yamide Dagnet, reiterated that the Paris Agreement is a legal instrument to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.

She explained that the implementation of Paris Agreement would require each party to prepare, communicate and maintain successive NDCs it intended to achieve, noting that a revised document will be due for submission at COP26

Lead Author/panelist at the event, Huzi Mshelia, said there have been a lot of discussions from Paris on the kind of legal framework to implement the NDC.

According to him, Nigeria intends to pursue high economic growth with low emission in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Co-Author/Panelist, Dr Tomilola Akanle, disclosed that Nigeria has not come out with a law that addresses climate change.

According to her, the main instrument on climate change in Nigeria was the National Adaptation Strategy and Plan of Action on Climate Change for Nigeria (NASPA-CCN) 2012, which is not enforceable.

However, she Akanle explained that the Climate Change Bill is currently being reviewed to address some of the gaps, expressing hope that it would soon receive Presidential’s accent.

Legal Advisor, African Group of Negotiators and a panelist, Salem Abebe, in her presentation on Legal consideration for Progression & Implementation of NDCs, said the NDCs have collective obligation and individual goals.

She explained that the NDCs have different elements and components as stated in the Article 4 of the Convention and that each country need to have legal instruments on how they will ensure they meet the targets.

Professor of Environmental Law, University of Reading UK, Chris Hilson, cited United Kingdom example, saying it has a climate change’s legislation.

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