From Esther Akaa, Lafia
OXFAM in Nigeria has charged the Nasarawa State Network on Environment and Climate Justice (NASNECJ) to hold government and other relevant stakeholders accountable for the implementation of Climate Change policies in the state.
The Project Coordinator of the African Activists for Climate Justice (AACJ) for OXFAM, Mr Kenneth Akpan gave the charge on Wednesday at a training of the newly inaugurated members of NASNECJ held in Lafia.
The training themed ” Building the Political Will for Climate Justice in Nasarawa State” was organised by OXFAM in partnership
with the Global Initiative for Food Security and Ecosystem Preservation (GIFSEP) with support from Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) of the Netherlands and the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA).
Akpan noted that in order to address climate change challenges and promote climate justice in the state, the NASNECJ must engage public authorities and other relevant stakeholders.
He said that the AACJ project was aimed at amplifying the voices of vulnerable African, particularly women, youths and persons with disabilities in the event of climate change impacts – emergencies and stressed the need for right representation in the discussions surrounding climate change.
“We have realised that women, youths and persons with disabilities are more impacted and more challenged with the climate change crises so giving them the platform to express themselves and be heard is what our project is concerned about.
” The formation of a coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the state is to enable members galvanise voices to pressure and speak more to the issues as they are.
“This is because a united voice can change the narratives, engage with politicians, governments and different stakeholders on how they can come on board to see that climate change issues are being addressed properly,” Akpan said.
Akpan disclosed that Nigeria had already made commitments through the National Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris agreement, noting that with the NDCs, climate change issues were being addressed properly.
The AACJ project coordinator called for seamless implementation of the policies at the state and local government levels.
He urged members of the group to positively engage government stakeholders by educating them on the effects of climate change and the need to implement policies that would encourage climate justice in Nasarawa state.
In his presentation, the Executive Director of GIFSEP, Mr David Michael entitled ” Lobbying: Building Political Will for Climate Action” called on participants to build relationships and engage stakeholders positively with sincerity and respect.
Michael also urged NASNECJ to be open minded and eschew every form of confrontation when engaging policies makers while advocating for climate justice in the state.
He, therefore called on them to forthright in their engagement with politicians, government officials and other relevant stakeholders as well as organising follow- up meetings in order to achieve their goals.
In an interview with The Voice, the state coordinator of NASNECJ, Mr Emmanuel Okolo and a member of the group Blessing Ibi, both promised to use the knowledge gained at the training to advocate for climate Justice in the state.
The Voice reports that OXFAM is a confederation of international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working to fight poverty, inequality and improve people’s lives in around 96 countries throughout the world, including Nigeria.