From Esther Akaa, Lafia
A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Global Initiative for Food Security and Ecosystem Preservation (GIFSEP), has trained 45 community activists in Nasarawa State on Climate Risk Register and Adaptation Planning to mitigate the impact of climate change.
This is to enable the trainees develop climate risk registers for selected communities across the 13 local government areas of the state.
The organisation which is implementing a five-year project known as “African Activists for Climate Justice (AACJ), is working in partnership with OXFAM with support from Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) of the Netherlands and the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA).
Speaking on Thursday at the end of the training, held in Lafia, Executive Director of GIFSEP, Mr David Michael, said the training was to equip the community activists with requisite knowledge on how to develop Community Climate Risk Register to help mitigate the impacts of climate change within the communities in the state.
According to him, there was an urgent need for communities to adapt to the changing climate by developing adaptive strategies that will help reduce disasters, as well as some of its impacts.
He said: “We are aware of the effects of climate change in Nigeria and Nasarawa State therefore, we believe that adaptation strategies should be the bottom approach and the community should be at the centre of it.
“That is why we are training these activists to get back to their communities to help develop a disaster reduction tool which will help to prepare against some of the climate impacts.
“The good thing about this process is that the community is at the centre of it and the mitigation strategies are all within the ability of the community. Those little things they can do by themselves and the ones they can not do, development partners and government can come in to assist.
“We are supporting communities and hoping that other states can take a cue and create awareness because when the process is taken down to communities, others can also come together, learn about this issue and take positive steps on how to adapt to the changes within the environment.”
He, therefore, called on participants to apply the knowledge gained through the training and develop the climate risk register, in order to reduce the occurrence and impacts of disasters in their communities.
In her presentation, Executive Director, Gender and Environmental Risks Reduction Initiative (GERI), Mrs Elizabeth Jeiyol, said community members must build resilience towards climate change related issues.
“Climate change threatens food security through loss of livelihoods and income, loss of marine and coastal ecosystem, loss of terrestrial and inland water ecosystems, food insecurity and breakdown of food system.
“Climate change impacts may reduce income level and stability of families,” Jeiyol said.
She, therefore, called on the communities, as well as the state government to take deliberate steps towards mitigating climate change.
On his part, Acting Director, Climate Change, state Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Mr Angbashim Ishaku, commended the organisation for implementing its programme in the state.
Ishaku said that the state government, through the ministry was doing its best to protect the environment as it has banned the use of charcoal in the state due to its negative implication on the environment.
Earlier, the AACJ Project Manager in the State, Mr Joseph Ibrahim, said about 45 persons have been trained as activists on Climate Risk Register and Adaptation Planning and will go to the communities to carryout the task.
He, therefore, called on community leaders to cooperate with those sent to their communities to enable them to perform the task which will be used as a tool to plan ahead to avoid disasters that occur as a result of climate change.
One of the participants at the training, who is also a lecturer at department of Geography, Benue State University, Makurdi, Dr Johnson Orfega, said that knowledge gained will be passed to the communities.
“I believe that what we have learned will be passed to the communities and they will make good use of it and there will be preparedness, in terms of adaptive capabilities that will help them respond to the risks of climate change,” he said.