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Achieving low-emission, climate-resilient development pathway costlier than conventional solutions

By Mohammed H. Abdullah

Let me start by congratulating the NatureNews organisation for organising this auspicious event. I will also like to remind you that as an online and offline news media, your publications are faster and easier to access by people. Please, use that power to promote and collaborate on environmental and climate change awareness and education of the Nigerian populace.

Your UNFCCC COP27 reporting on the side event activities in the Nigeria pavilion, especially the adaptation event, was well noted and appreciated.

The fact is clear that the cost of tackling climate change in developing countries, like Nigeria, will require hundreds of billions of US dollars annually up until the 2030 Paris Agreement’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) and 2050 Net-zero designated target years. Arriving at and sustaining a low-emission and climate-resilient development pathway often require upfront investments that can be costlier than conventional solutions. For instance, fully implementing Nigeria’s updated NDC will require at least USD17.7 billion towards Nigeria’s contribution to the global 1.5 degrees centigrade temperature goal.

The UNFCCC COP28 President Designate Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber has acknowledged recently that the world is way off the Paris Agreement roadmap to 1.5 degrees centigrade temperature goal and will require at least a capitalisation of additional USD 40 billion by 2025 for the global south to return on track.

Ladies and gentlemen, realise that resilience to negative impacts of climate change is beyond preparing to overcome or cope with flooded farms and land, erratic weather presentations, increased sea level rise and damaged infrastructure. We will need to fortify our socio-economic systems also.

A Climate Finance Landscape Study done for Nigeria in 2022 shows that in 2019/2020, an average of USD 1.9 billion per year of public and private capital was invested in climate-related activities in Nigeria. This is only 11% of the estimated USD 17.7 billion required to implement Nigeria’s updated NDC. There is obviously an investment gap for Nigeria’s priority sectors.

Financial support is critical to build resilience. However, accessing international climate finance has been an uphill task for a lot of developing countries, including Nigeria. It has been duly recognised that the current global climate finance architecture is unable to operate efficiently, fairly, and at the speed and scale needed within the decisive decade. It is in this realisation that Nigeria took the bold step to finance climate compatible development through the collaborations between the Environment Ministry, other financial systems of government and the Capital market to issue Sub Saharan Africa’s first ever Sovereign Green Bonds in 2017 and a second in 2018.

As at 2019/2020, private sector investment significantly lagged behind public investment, accounting for 23% of total climate finance committed in 2019/2020. Filling the climate finance gap in Nigeria can only be achieved with the participation of the private sector.

Opportunities to expand the national climate finance space exist with the new establishment of the Climate Change Act in 2021 and the Council. The Act provides for establishing a carbon market. This will ensure private sector engagement alongside scaling up financial flows for climate action.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is hoped that forums such as these will inform and facilitate discussions among policymakers and public and private financiers, identify gaps and opportunities for scaling climate finance in Nigeria.

The policy framework for climate mitigation and resilience building is currently work in progress. However to deliver sustainable economic growth there is a need to have a climate finance framework, international and domestic, that will enable equitable access, national ownership, and effective management and monitoring.

In another vein, it is gladdening to know that efforts by individuals in the climate change action and sustainability space are being acknowledged and recognised and awards presented today. As we congratulate the winners, let me reiterate that environmental action is collaborative and all non-state actors/stakeholders are invited to join towards creating a sustainable environment for all Nigerians.

Barrister Abdullah is the Minister of Environment

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