Environment

Minister advocates speedy passage of climate change Bill

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By Vivian Emoni

The Minister of State for the Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor, on Wednesday called on the National Assembly to accelerate action on the passage of the climate change bill.

Ikeazor, who made the call in a virtual meeting at a three-day National Environmental Council in Abuja, said the bill had already passed second reading on the House floor.

The minister said the bill has become necessary to have a legal instrument that would respond to the myriad actions and challenges related to climate change in the country.

She said the theme of the meeting was labeled: Managing Emerging Environmental Challenges: The Need for a Strategic Approach to Sustainable Development in the Age of COVID-19 and Beyond ”.

She said the theme was strategically chosen to highlight the realities of the global health challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There is a need to address the associated issues to mitigate the environmental and developmental consequences the nation may face if it does not act now.

“So that underlines the crucial nature of this meeting.

“As a sector, the need for us to deliberate on growing concerns with a view to generating a policy framework and actionable measures to guide our actions towards addressing these emerging concerns is paramount.

“This is why we are here,” she said.

Ikeazor therefore urged attendees to engage their diverse experiences, expertise and ingenuity during the meeting to find lasting solutions to the multifaceted environmental challenges facing the nation.

She said some of the challenges included loss of biodiversity, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, among others.

The ministry’s permanent secretary, Mr. Abel Enitan, said the meeting was previously scheduled to be held in Kano towards the end of 2020, but could not, due to the second wave of the pandemic.

“The board had to be postponed and subsequently repackaged to accommodate the virtual option in order to ensure strict adherence to COVID-19 public health and safety protocols.

“Due to the inability of this meeting to take into account the various memoranda of all stakeholders, the ministry carefully selected 45 memoranda with broad relevance to the specific situations and circumstances of members,” said Enitan.

Senator Micheal Nnachi, who spoke on behalf of the Senate Environment Committee, however, called for the participation of more non-governmental organizations in the activities of the ministry.

Nnachi said most of his activities were geared towards the grassroots, which required a lot of mobilization and enlightenment.

He said the Senate was keenly aware of the meager envelope of the department despite its enormous responsibilities.

He therefore assured that positive evaluations had been made to facilitate and strengthen its funding windows.

In addition, Professor Mansur Matazu, Director General of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, appealed to the Minister and the Council to support the ratification of the National Framework for the Application of Climate Services.

Matazu said the effort would ensure transparent access to climate service information for the benefit of all. (NOPE)

(NAN)

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