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Rural Nigerian Women Trained In India On Solar Energy To Combat Energy Crisis …What Nigeria expects at Climate Talks in Durban

November 3, 2011

Rural Nigerian Women Trained In India On Solar Energy To Combat Energy Crisis

Sunday, 30 October 2011 00:00 in The Guardian By Tunde Akingbade Sunday Magazine Newsfeature
TWELVE Nigerian rural women have received training at the expense of the government of India on how to produce and install solar energy equipment. The women were trained in India.
The Guardian gathered that two rural  women were picked from each of the six geo-political zones to benefit from the training under a project specially designed for rural women on energy security programme for Nigeria.
The project was designed by the Renewable Energy department of the Federal Ministry of Environment, whose head, Mrs. Bahijjahtu Abubakar, made the dislosure in Abuja while speaking at the Global Environment Facility/Small Grants GEF/SG workshop organized by the United Nations Development Programme(UNDP) and theMinistry of Environment.
According to Mrs. Abubakar, an engineer, the women that were chosen for the training in India were picked on specific criteria among which was that they were “stark illiterates“ and they belonged to the “lowest level of poverty”. The reason these criteria was used was to show the Nigerian people that rural, uneducated and poor people can acquire skills to produce, install as well as repair solar panels and equipment if they are trained.
The Indian and Nigeria governments believe that when these poor women return to the country they would become examples to train people in their geo-political areas. It is believed that this will in effect lead to job creation and poverty reduction.
“Over three million people can be employed in the renewable energy sector, ” Mrs. Abubakar said.
It was gathered that the government is encouraging the setting up of renewable energy desk in all the states of the federation. The Central Bank; Bank of Industry; and NEXIM Bank are encouraging the finance of renewable energy in the country.
A renewable energy village is expected to be constructed in Abuja and this will be the first zero carbon village in the country.
Mr. Janthomas Hiemstra, who represented the UNDP at the event, said the UNDP is ready to boost efforts of people of Nigeria and the government for greater achievements through the sponsorship of many projects in the country.
In a paper titled; Global Environment Facility delivered by Mrs. O.B. Jaji. Director, Federal Ministry of Environment/GEF Operational Focal Point, she recalled that GEF was established in 1991 by concerned countries, mainly industrialised, during the preparatory meetings of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“GEF is the designated financial mechanism for a number of Multilateral Enviromental Agreement (MEAs) or Conventions, including Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)”, said Mrs. Jaji.
The Director concluded that international cooperation, donor funds and grants are essential for the achievement of environmental protection and sustainable development in Nigeria, adding that the country needs these support to build capacity in GEF project development processes.
She said that government should facilitate the building and sustenance of such collaboration by making adequate budgetary provisions particularly for counterpart funding of relevant projects.
Mrs Ibironke Olubamise, National Coordinator GEF/SGP, Nigeria,  in her paper titled,GEF /Small Grants Programme-Grant Process and Project Concept Guidelines, disclosed that GEF–SGP places strong emphasis on hands-on practical projects that is verifiable and has project sustainability plan, project duration and proposed start date.
According to Mrs Olubamise, SGP will not fund proposals, which do not respond to the established criteria and priorities regardless of their merit
She said that proponent of proposals must state years of practical conservation experience, purpose and goal of the organisation, association with some umbrella group and must state total annual budget.
According to Mrs. Olubamise, other criteria include; that the proponent must have experience in conservation and environmental management; and must provide evidence of credibility, evidence of previous work with communities and interest in vulnerable communities among others .
The proponent must also show how the host community will participate in the project as well as their involvement, ownership by an appropriate spectrum of people, including in particular, women and grassroots communities,”
Mr. Kayode Obasa of the National Planning Commission, in his paper; Accessing Special Climate Change Fund, noted that due to the perceived lack of capacity to implement projects effectively,  some funds demand that applicants work through an existing development agency such as the Multilateral Development Banks or the UN Agencies
Mrs Adekemi Ndieli, National Programme Officer, UN Women, Nigeria in her paper titled, Gender Main Streaming in Environment, said that “environmental issues are not gender neutral”.
She, however, added that roles and responsibilities of genders are different and their concerns are therefore very different.
“Women’s dependence on national resources e.g land and water bodies for their survival particularly makes them more vulnerable and worst hit by environmental problems”, said Mrs Ndieli
Ndieli concluded that there should be equality of rights between women and men, adding that women must be regarded as agents and beneficianes of change.
Dr Otive Igbuzor, speaking on Management of NGOS, noted that NGOs must ensure that they put in place strong principles of accountability and management in order to succeed.
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Author of this article: By Tunde Akingbade

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Green House Gas Effect: ‘At Durban Meet, Nigeria Will Insist Developed Nations Come Up With Emission Reduction Plan’

Sunday, 30 October 2011 00:00 Editor Sunday Magazine Newsfeature
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IF you look at the global and Nigeria environment; what will be your assessment of the problem of climate change? Is the climate really changing globally and in Nigeria?
What we have to understand are; what are the symptoms observed in Nigeria and are they comparable to what they are experiencing in other parts of the world? You have to know that the effects of climate change are not always the same. For example, last year, we had a very high rainfall in Nigeria which is again what we can refer to as part of the signal to the issue of climate change. Then if globally you look at the frequency of hurricane, you will find out that it has become more intense and if you come down to national scale, you will also find out that elements of climate change. When you, look at the rainfall pattern, it has continued to increase especially with some flooding incidences like it happened in Sokoto last year.
We have never had that type of rainfall if you look at the historical record of rainfall in the country. So we can say that Nigeria’s climate is also changing compared to other parts of the world.
Like in Sokoto last year, Lagos and Ogun States this year have been under heavy rains and flooding. Early this year, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) warned that  we should expect more and intense rainfall. What do you think should be done to mitigate the effects of the the heavy rains, especiall as people still erect their structures indiscriminately?
With respect to people taking into consideration the information while putting up their structure; this has been a very difficult thing to come by in Nigeria unlike where towns or houses are being developed by the government like here in Abuja. But if you look at other areas you will find that most of these things are not taken into consideration. When we put up our buildings and construction work; the issues of disaster that may arise from bad urban development are not put into consideration. I think it’s high time we started putting into consideration all these issues of climate change, early warning system so that disaster will be minimized.
In 1990, at a NIMET workshop to mark the World Meteorological Day, we were warned that 1990 was the hottest year. The end of the 90s was indeed the hottest year. In the 2000s, scientists found the first decade was hotter. Will it be right to say that the world is getting hotter?
Of course, if all these observations or information were based on statistical data and were taken by Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), whose mandate is to take weather information and analyze them critically for predicting purposes, then I will say that if we had it warmer then and the warming still continued, we can always say that the earth is getting warmer, if it is based on observed weather information.
YOU were a member of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Executive Board. What were you doing there?
Yes I was a member of the UNFCCC Executive Board on CDM which comprised of 20 members. Ten are always serving their full capacity while the other 10 are serving in their private capacity. It’s for a period of two years.
Essentially what the members of the Executive Board do is to consider CDM projects and CDM methodology that is so crucial. They look at the CDM projects and consider if it’s going to achieve the set objective and that is the reduction of green house gases from the atmosphere.
The bulk of the job starts from the DNA that is Designated National Authority to the Designated Operational Entity who serves as intermediary between the project participant and the Executive Board.
So it’s when these two validate the project or what is referred to as Project Designed Document and the validation is satisfactory that it is sent to the CDM Executive Board, who will look into the methodology adopted and the project itself whether it’s going to satisfy the objective of the CDM project and Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol.
You served for how many years on the board?
Four years —two as full membership and other years as private capacity.
Now you are Nigeria’s DNA, what role has Nigeria been playing in recent months on the problem of climate change in the area of UNFCCC?
One fundamental obligation of Nigeria under the Convention and the Protocol is the national implementation of all the requirements of the Convention and the Protocol.
As a developing country, Nigeria is required under the Convention to produce National Communication, which of course, we have done the first one. We are almost completing the second one and by the third quarter of this year; we should be able to submit the Second National Communication.
Apart from that we have raised the level of awareness of Nigerians at the policy level, community level and private sector level.
We have continued telling the people of the importance of joining hands with the government to tackle the problem of climate change. We also engaged ourselves in further negotiations of instruments. We have continued to take actions on the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol, essentially the legally binding instrument. We thought probably by Copenhagen, in 2009, we would have had a deal but it did not happen. It did not happen in Cancun, Mexico in 2010. May be by the time we get to Durban, South Africa in December 2011 depending on how the issues go, we are going to get a deal.
COP 16 took place in Cancun, Mexico. Now the world is working towards COP 17 in Durban. What do you expect to be Nigerian’s position and Africa position in Durban?
Yes, like I mentioned earlier Nigeria is going to maintain her stand on the two-track approach;  the Bali Action plan, that is working on  a kind of treaty that will be all encompassing, that every party will have a role to play. We have a role to play. Under the long term Cooperative Action, what we are saying is that, let all parties come together, let everybody, especially the developed countries’ party tell us what they are going to do in terms of emission reduction. We will tell them to come up with an ambitious emission reduction plan and this is based on the science of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) who found out that before we can maintain a good climate, we need to reduce emission of greenhouse gases by 40 to 50 percent to reduce the temperature to 1990 level. Without this, we are at the risk of moving to 2 degrees centigrade. This will fully affect the environment whether you are from developed or developing country.
So what we are saying is that let the developed countries should come up with a higher scale of emission reduction. What we have now is 18 percent. And fundamentally, if we are not reducing the emission of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere I don’t think we are doing anything. And this is the bottom line. The developed countries and some developing countries may probably have to have stipulated targets and time frame. Under another system, like Nigeria we can say we are going to do Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action called NAMA.
It’s under LCA where individual country will indicate what activity it’s going to undertake in order to reduce emissions. They can come up with a project which is going to involve what is called Monitoring Reporting and Verification (MRV). The project is going to be monitored and you are going to report it and it’s going to be verified that you have actually done it before reporting what you have done.
In the last two years it appears that if the developed countries did not put forward action plans to reduce green house gas emissions to 40 or 50 per cent. If this is not done in Durban, the earth will be getting warmer. Not so?
We want the developed countries to indicate the scale that will keep the temperature at 1.5 degrees centigrade. So far their consideration had been more on of economic than scientific considerations. We may not be able to go far even if we go to Durban. Let’s say, in Durban we do not come up with ambitious target, whatever we come up with may not be effective in terms of mitigating the effects of climate change. The process is very dynamic even if we come up with something in Durban, it will still be subjected to elaboration.

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