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Niger Delta Climate Change Conference Calls For Action Against Negative Impacts of Fossil Fuel Extraction On Women, Young People

The maiden edition of the  Niger Delta Climate Change Conference facilitated and organised by Lekeh Development Foundation was held at Davis Hotel and Suites in Port Harcourt from 10-12 July 2023 with the theme Niger Delta and Climate Change: Imperative for Action.

The conference gathered opinion leaders, policy experts and makers, academics, community people, women organizations, public health professionals and civil society organizations, traditional rulers including HRH King Baridam Suanu, and other key stakeholders from Ghana and the United Kingdom (UK) to discuss the ubiquitous climate change impacts and chart a path for adaptation and mitigation for the region.

The Forum targeted deepening conversations around climate change impacts and awareness on the negative impacts of fossil fuel extraction and climate change particularly on women and young people living in the region. It also afforded the opportunity to interrogate the climate policies in Nigeria.

Discussants used the opportunity to examine and situate the Niger Delta in the global south climate and environmental justice movement. Strategic litigation and legal instrument for climate and environmental justice, national and Sub-National responses to climate change impacts. Participants further proffered action plan towards a regional action plan and most notably, Loss and damage in the context global climate justice movement.

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The communique issued at the end of the three days Niger Delta Climate Change conference with very robust engagement, Participants observed the following:

  1. The impact of Climate change on the physical environment and livelihoods with respect to the citizens’ health condition increases poverty and unemployment, as well as displacements of the people.
  2. Conflict, destruction of infrastructure, and land resources demand urgent attention and support from both the Federal and State Governments of the Niger Delta Region to mitigate the adverse effect of climate in the region.
  3. There is a need for awareness creation and mobilization of communities on the dangers of climate change as well as adaptation and mitigation strategies.
  4. That development partners should intensify their support to community groups to execute climate change mitigation projects to reverse the adverse effects of climate change.
  5. There is need to review the Climate Change Act and strengthen climate change policies with the involvement of the Governor’s Forum, Speakers and members of the State and National Houses of Assemblies, Ministries of Environments, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Ministry of Niger Delta are to refocus attention on the impact of climate change on the Niger Delta environment.
  6. Mainstreaming of women in the climate change agenda in the Niger Delta Region should be strongly promoted to achieve greater results in the fight against climate change..
  7. There is a need for the development of a Regional Action Plan on climate change for greater impact with the combined efforts of all State Governments in the Niger Delta.
  8. There is a need to conduct comprehensive health and environmental audit for the development of effective strategies for mitigation of the adverse impact of climate change in the region.
  9. There is a need to refocus and situate the loss and damage concept in the context of the regional and national climate action.
  10. Maintaining and enhancing the momentum, outcomes, and results of this maiden Niger Delta Conference was strongly endorsed for greater achievements and impacts.
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Recommendations

Implement strategies to help communities adapt to climate change. This includes promoting sustainable agriculture practices, enhancing coastal protection measures, and improving flood management systems to reduce the vulnerability of communities to extreme weather events.

  1. Encourage reforestation initiatives and protect existing forests as forests play a crucial role in absorbing carbon dioxide and regulating temperature, thus mitigating climate change impacts.
  2. End the continued illegal and unconstitutional routine gas flaring in the region.
  3. Halt the expansion of fossil fuel extraction in the Niger Delta and carry out comprehensive clean up and restoration of the heavily degraded environment.
  4. Promote and implement recommendations of the Bayelsa Stare Oil and Environment Commission Report and the demands contained in the Niger Delta Alternative Convergence Manifesto.
  5. Promote the use of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power.
  6. Strengthen monitoring mechanisms and invest in early warning systems for extreme weather events like storms and floods. This will enable timely response and evacuation, reducing the risks to human lives and infrastructure.
  7. Capacity-building programs including by learning from indigenous knowledge, should be implemented to enhance knowledge, skills, and resources for climate change adaptation and mitigation.
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Signed by:

Lekeh Development Foundation

We the people

Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF)

Friends of the Earth Nigeria/Environmental Rights Action

KebetKache Woman Development and Resources Centre

Oilwatch Africa

GIFSEP

Yeraba Women Foundation

African Centre for Rural Development and Environment.

African Parents for Future

Parents for Future Nigeria

Nigeria Coal Network

African Coal Network

Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP)

Society for Women and Youth Affairs

Sustainable Action for Nature

MBA Okase Initiative Eleme

People’s Advancement Centre

 

 

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