Nigeria: Anne-Marie Trevelyan meets experts to discuss climate change vulnerabilities

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Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Anne-Marie Trevelyan

UK’s International Champion for Adaptation & Resilience Anne-Marie Trevelyan meets Federal Minister of Environment, business leaders and civil society experts to discuss Nigeria’s climate change vulnerabilities.

On a virtual visit to Nigeria on18th March, Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the UK’s International Champion on Adaptation and Resilience, met with His Excellency Dr Mohammed Mahmood Abubakar, Federal Minister of Environment, other members of Federal government of Nigeria, business leaders, civil society experts and other interlocutors. Her visit follows last month’s visit of the COP26 President Designate, Alok Sharma to Nigeria.

Climate change impacts will not be the same across the world. The risks climate change brings to Nigeria are increasing. The country is already one of the most climate vulnerable in the world. As the effects of climate change get worse Nigeria is expected to face increasing aridity, drought, desertification, flooding and erosion. Nigeria’s capacity to develop the levels of climate change resilience needed to effectively offset the negative impacts of climate change is critical to ensuring Nigeria’s peaceful and prosperous future.

As COP26 hosts, and as is made clear in the UK Government’s Integrated Review, which was published this week and which sets out the UK’s security, defence and foreign policy priorities for the next ten years – climate change and biodiversity loss is and will remain a long-term fundamental strategic priority for the UK Government. Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan’s role as International Champion on Adaptation and Resilience is an important part of the UKs ambition to delivering against our climate change commitments.

Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan’s visit was an important milestone for the UK and Nigeria’s engagement on a range of climate change issues. In particular, it was a key moment to develop actions Nigeria can take to increase awareness and adoption of accessible adaptation practices that will help to halt the potential damage from climate change in Nigeria.

The dual threats from climate change faced by Nigeria of flooding and drought are real. The primary means of livelihood for 70 per cent of the Nigerian population is agriculture based. These livelihoods are heavily reliant on the right amount of rainfall and are significantly sensitive to the adverse effects of climate change.

Nigeria lost about 25% of its rice harvest last year due to floods. Without the essential development of adequate adaptation actions across Nigeria, the country faces the threat of increasing crop failures, desertification, flooding and drought which will lower agricultural productivity and have a significant impact on the population’s livelihoods, food security and Nigeria’s economy. Evidence suggests that climate change will also increase malaria prevalence in Nigeria.

During her visit, the Minister met a range of interlocutors from the Government of Nigeria, the private sector, civil society and climate change experts. This included a call with the UK-funded Propcom Mai-Karfi rural and agricultural markets development programme. They discussed impacts of the changing climate on people’s livelihoods in Nigeria and how they are making available affordable climate-resilient and locally adapted seed varieties and farming techniques to improve and preserve soils. The Minister was also able to hear from companies that have adopted the model such as Techni Seed and Premier Seed Nigeria Limited.

The minister met with Nigerian SMEs to discuss how their businesses and clients (smallholder farmers) are responding to the changing climate. The Minister attended an adaptation and resilience roundtable chaired by Professor Francis Adesina who helped draft Nigeria’s National Adaptation plan framework in June 2020. The Minister met UN Environment Programme head of operations in the Niger Delta to understand how to speed up the clean-up operation in Ogoniland.

The Minister met Special Adviser to the President on Agriculture. Dr. Momale to better understand the linkages between climate change/environmental degradation and insecurity in Nigeria.

The minister also met with His Excellency Dr Mohammed Mahmood Abubakar, Federal Minister of Environment where she was able to reaffirm the UK’s commitment to a balanced outcome at COP26 that facilitates ambition not only on mitigation, but also on Adaptation and Resilience and green finance. The importance of the Climate Change Bill, environmental clean-up in the Niger Delta and Nigeria’s National Gender Action Plan was also discussed.

The Minister urged progress on mobile money and financial inclusion as a key way to facilitating savings for climate change shocks and adequately budgeted disaster risk preparedness programmes to cope with floods and drought. She also encouraged climate smart agriculture requirements to be mainstreamed into Government-lending programmes.

At the end of the visit Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the UK’s International Champion on Adaptation and Resilience, said:

“As the largest economy in Africa, and a country highly vulnerable to climate impacts, Nigeria’s regional leadership on climate action is hugely important. Great progress has been made to adapt to the impacts of climate change, whilst also advancing gender-equality, including through its publication of a ‘National Action Plan on Gender and Climate Change’, and the development of a National Adaptation Plan framework. I look forward to seeing some of this progress reflected in an ambitious Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).”

“Building resilience to climate change is a priority for the UK’s COP26 Presidency and I look forward to working with Nigeria as we look to COP26 and beyond, to drive global action and ambition.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of British High Commission Abuja.

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