Nigerians Missing in Warsaw, Poland: Climate Talks and COP 19 Negotiations Begin with Empty Nigerian Table.

We’re receiving updates from Warsaw, Poland where the high level environmental gathering, Conference of Parties (COP19), is on-going and the news is not so pleasant. Nigerians are missing at the Climate Talks side event where several young people were billed to give presentations on the state of environment in Nigeria. With Nigerian young people spear-heading many environmental networks in Africa, it is a shame that such a great opportunity has been missed to place Nigeria on the world map of international environmental deliberations.

Empty Nigerian Table COP 19 Poland Warsaw

 

With Nigeria gearing up for a change of government in 2015 and the re-directing of the Millennium Development Goals in the same year, COP 19 is critical for high level government representatives and well as young activists as the international deliberations are capable of making or breaking Nigeria’s environmental space.

One of the few Nigerians present in Poland, Hamzat Lawal, is blogging for the Adopt a Negotiator project and is reporting the situation thus:

Africa’s most populous nation, big producer of fossil fuels, major contributor to gas flaring, and my father land, has no negotiator present at the ongoing United Nations climate conference (COP19) taking place in Warsaw, Poland, as expectations are high in the lead up to the 2015 global climate agreements.

Lawal, who leads several environmental and socio-development organizations in Nigeria including Follow the Money, Nigeria and African Youth Initiative on Climate Change expresses disappointment, especially as several stake-holders in Nigeria have been anticipating Nigeria’s full representation in Warsaw. He also writes:

Nigeria is one of the most vulnerable countries in Sub-Sahara Africa suffering from the negative impacts of Climate Change with changes in temperature, rain fall patterns, low agricultural yields, loss of forest reserves, security challenges among others.

On Wednesday, 11 September 2013, the President fired some ministers after a cabinet reshuffle affecting the Ministry of Environment, politicizing and appointing the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Goodsday Orubebe in an acting capacity to oversee the activities of the Ministry. Apparently, with the role being played by the Minister, this indicates that he has no idea about the impact this has on our economy and social well-being in the coming months, if this trends continue. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Mr. Taye Haruna, a senior civil servant who is supposed to adequately brief our confused Minister, is not taking this seriously and apparently does not give a damn.

Is this how we want the international community to see us? Is the ministry of environment now used as a means to appreciate political friends who have no idea of the main issues? Is this how we are going to be the leading developing economy as a nation? Is this how we hope to access the climate funds being made available for adaptation? Are the upcoming elections in 2015 much more important than the future of the country in mitigating and adapting towards the effects of climate change? Is this a responsible government with interest of her citizen at heart? Is this how we hope to achieve the vision 2020 development agenda for Nigeria? Do we have to wait until disasters happen before taking actions?

A petition has been released against the Polish Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria, citing gross maltreatment and disregard of Nigerian applicants. The petition, signed by ten NGOs including Zero Carbon Africa, HACEY’s Health Initiative, HEDA Resource Center and Renaclip Foundation has been sent to polish authorities and UNFCCC officials in the wake of Nigeria’s poor representation at COP 19. The undersigned demand “swift investigation by the UNFCCC secretariat and the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the reports of bias visa application treatment and disrespectful disposition of the staff of the Polish Embassy in Nigeria.” The petition is hosted on Avaaz here.

To read the full first-hand account from Hamzat Lawal, click here. Hamzat Lawal continues to blog throughout the COP 19 conference via Adopt a Negotiator.

Hamzat’s full story was first published on AdoptANegotiator.Org

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