The Coalition for Socio-Ecological Transformation (COSET) and partners in Abuja on Wednesday, January 31, 2024, at a forum tagged “Post COP28 – Reviews and Lessons Learnt” undertook an analysis of engagements, positions and decisions from the 28th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that held from November 30 to December 13, 2023, in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The Forum was held by The Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) foundation, coordinators of COSET, in collaboration with the Centre for 21st Century Issues (C21st), EnviroNews Development Network (Endenet) and Society for Planet and Prosperity (SPP), who are jointly implementing a British High Commission (BHC) supported project, under the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) titled: “COP28: Strengthening Nigeria’s Civil Society Organisations’ Engagement with Global Climate Change Policy.”
The project aimed at improving the communication, lobbying and advocacy competencies of climate CSOs to ensure a more active participation at the ‘glibal climate change summit. That support saw the trio of C21st, Endenet and SPP mobilise over 250 Nigerian CSOs at COP28, in partnership with the Nigeria Climate Justice Alliance (NCJA).
The discourse at the Abuja Post COP28 review were centred on issues related to: * The Loss and Damage Fund,
* Climate Change and Health,
* Food systems and Agriculture Agenda,
* Just Transition and Labour Rights, and
* Strengthening Nigeria’s CSOs Engagement with Global Climate Policy, among others.
The Opening remark was made by the Resident Representative of FES, Mr O. Lennart, who stressed the need for increased collaborative efforts towards enhancing climate actions, even as he mentioned how the FES has been dedicated to working with other organisations in fostering positive outcomes.
A recap of the COP28, issues and disappointments at the summit was also made elaborate by Mr Olumide Idowu of ICCDI Africa.
A foremost climate youth activist, Olumide took the attendees through a phase of the final key decisions of the COP and made clear that his disappointments stem from the fact that actions are not being carried out enough to back up the talks.
Miss Tolu Gbenro was efficient in disclosing some of the basic issues associated with Loss and Damage. She highlighted vandalism and gas flaring as sources of worry. She also reiterated that gas flaring wasn’t a major factor in carbon emissions but using it as a source of light/energy by local folks wasn’t ideal as she pegged vandalism of pipelines to the local communities.
A participant disagreed with her on the issues raised with respect to vandalism and made bare the fact that, the military and other security agencies have been deployed to look into the issues and cases of vandalism and that if there is a persistence, then the people involved have some level of institutional backing and communities should not be accused.
Speaking on “Highlights on the Climate Change and Health at COP28”, Dr Chinyere May Ohajinwa extensively dished out the harmful effects of negative environmental actions.
She mentioned issues of deforestation and drought leading to flooding, extreme weather condition, animal malnutrition and eventual death, leading to eventual loss of agricultural and economic strength which also brings about hunger and poor bodily resistance to diseases among humans.
Dr Ohajinwa stressed the need for humans to keep healthy environmental practices. Citing an example, she referred to water bodies; highlighting the fact that the same water some people defecate in; is the same water some other persons drink, same water that gets recycled, same water some bath in and also a source of water for cooking.
Speaking on Food Systems and Agriculture Agenda, Rinmicit Temlong-Aboki highlighted the issues and situations that declining climate has brought to the world over as climate change has become a global issue. She stated the use of inorganic fertilisers as a rising issue and other crude farming methods. She also recalled the issues Nigeria had with exportation as the farm produce exported were all returned due to excess chemicals found in the agricultural produce and that it was unsafe for consumption.
Adding to her contribution, Mrs Hauwa of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) decried the lack of technological advancements and the government’s inactions towards advancing agriculture in Nigeria. She stated that the fertiliser plant in Zaria produces fertilisers and that due to lack of adequate financial support and government inactions in that regard, organic fertiliser is barely enough to make it round the country.
Ekwujuru Austin, while discussing Just Transition and Labour Rights, described just transition as a process that reconciles the need for environmental sustainability. Mrs Hauwa chipped in on this as well and stressed the need for the government to consider making laws that will ensure that foreign companies give adequate compensation to victims and to also see to it that in the case of transition from one act to another, a fair hearing should be given to labour unions and civil society organisations (CSOs) so as to ensure a proper transition from one job to another thereby enhancing a proper wage balance.
While providing an insight into the role of CSOs as observers and not statutory party delegates, Mrs Titi Akosa of C21st urged any youth fortunate to attend the global summit to concentrate and not lose focus as many young people after few days of undergoing activities at the event either get bored or become overwhelmed with sight-seeing and the fact that they have been able to travel.
Akosa also expressed concern about the huge sums allocated to combat climate change and the fact that there is limited access to the funds as, according to her, provisions to easy access to the funds are usually not made.
Looking at the way forward, participants expressed the hope that COP28 might have made a huge step in combating climate change by signalling the beginning of the end of the use of fossil fuel.
The participants also advocated for efforts be made to see every intention turned to action, they opined, adding that it is necessary to make and create an avenue for action as only actions can bring result.
The population boost in the world is also a huge if not primary factor behind climate change, they noted. This is because, with population, the need to build more houses comes afore, the quest for economic means is also an issue with a larger population hence, areas that were once not considered for economic use get explored, such as cutting trees to make charcoal, clearing vast lands for farming and cattle rearing (open grazing).
Participants recommended a population control akin to one adopted in China, as well as other solutions, and that the Malthusian theory of population be visited and reviewed.