CROSS RIVER HOSTS THE WORLD IN NIGERIA …As State Floats World Class Summit on Climate Change
By Olawale Akinwumi
Cross River State would in April 2018 welcome the world to Nigeria as it hosts a Global Summit on Climate Change and Green Entrepreneurship; a statement, on behalf of the state, by Dr Alice Ekwu, Commissioner for Climate Change and Forestry, has said.
The summit, which would be hosted through the Ministry of Climate Change and Forestry, would be in collaboration with the Africa Clean Energy Summit/Group, the Federal Ministry of Environment, the Federal Ministry of Health, the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment, NEPAD Nigeria, Covenant University, Development Partners, Always Green Power & Systems Limited and The Environment Communications Limited.
The statement explained that the summit is expected to ‘’bring together international and national stakeholders from governments, private sector and non-governmental organizations. Decision makers, policymakers, industry leaders, investors, climate experts, development partners and international investors, to explore and further understand the challenges and opportunities that arise from Climate Change; and address matters that would support the state’s transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy – building a sustainable green economy in Cross River State.’’
The event which will come shortly before the 2018 World Earth Day celebrations, would focus on Jobs Creation Opportunities and the First Ever Wealth Creation Parks for Low Carbon Development in Africa, holding from April 9 to 13, 2018 with a Special Marathon Race, tagged – ‘’Cross River Climate Marathon’’ at the Calabar International Convention Centre.
Cross River State holds over 58% of the last remaining tropical rainforest in Nigeria and is listed as one of the 25 biodiversity hotspots in the world, with approximately 75% of Nigeria’s endangered tree species found in our forests. Also, Cross River Forests support 22 primate species including endemics such as the Cross River Gorilla, Drill Monkeys, Pruesus’s Guenons and many others.
Climate Change, occasioned principally by anthropogenic perturbations of the environment via burning of fossil fuels and gas flaring, Deforestation and unsustainable land use methods has produced myriads of untold consequences. The effects thereof include drought, flooding, reduced rainfall and irregular rainfall patterns, poor agricultural yield, food scarcity, hunger, youth restiveness, increased crime rate among others. Cross River State being basically an agrarian state bears a fair share of the global climate change impacts.
The Ministry of Climate Change and Forestry, Cross River State has the mandate of initiating and driving Climate Change mitigation activities in Cross River State. This mandate is premised on the sub-national leadership role which the State is expected to play in Climate Change mitigation and overall global ecosystem stability.
And to effectively deal with the issues of Climate Change, the administration of Prof. Ben Ayade introduced projects and programmes such as planting of 5 million trees every year, the Green Police, the Green Carnival, Anti-Deforestation Task Force, Special Mobile Court, Clean Energy Initiative as well as Green Economy Initiative, and these efforts are yielding laudable results.
Climate Change is aggravating the environmental issues such as deforestation and degradation, freshwater shortage, food security and air and water pollution. Projected increases in extreme climate events as well as more changes in the weather patterns may further threaten the means of livelihood in the face of inaction. And according to the Cross River State Governor, ‘’Our local actions have global impacts and require effective collaborations’’.
According to the World Bank report on climate change, in Africa, power is inaccessible, unaffordable, and unreliable for most people. This traps people in poverty; students find it difficult to read after dark, clinics cannot refrigerate vaccines and businesses have shorter operating hours. Today, 25 African countries face an energy poverty crisis. The African continent is well endowed with energy resources but most remain untapped.
Climate Change, occasioned principally by anthropogenic perturbations of the environment via burning of fossil fuels and gas flaring, Deforestation and unsustainable land use methods has produced myriads of untold consequences. The effects thereof include drought, flooding, reduced rainfall and irregular rainfall patterns, poor agricultural yield, food scarcity, hunger, youth restiveness, increased crime rate among others.
According to Dr Ekwu, a Pre-Summit Stakeholders Forum has been slated for October 26, 2017, while arrangements are in top gear for the state to float a world class summit that will project the state’s rich biodiversity and commitment towards Climate Change mitigation and adaptation.
The statement concluded that the summit ‘’will be the biggest and best of all, in the history of climate change and clean energy summits, conferences and programmes in Africa. The Africa Clean Energy Summit (ACES), has been appointed as the state’s consultants, to help drive the initiative.
It is worthy to note that Cross River State is the first and only subnational government that has a ministry for Climate Change in Africa. Cross River is also strategically positioned to host global events of this nature as an eco-tourism state.