KEYNOTE ADDRESS DELIVERED BY MR. PETER CARTER, THE BRITISH DEPUTY HIGH COMMISSIONER AT THE LEGISLATIVE RETREAT ON CLIMATE CHANGE IN LAGOS STATE ORGANIZED BY POLICY ADVOCACY PARTNERSHIP IN LAGOS STATE . “RESHAPING GOVERNANCE AND LEGAL STRUCTURE OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN LAGOS STATE”
It’s a great pleasure for me to have the opportunity to address you all today. I am reassured to know that such a rich pool of experts is coming together here in Lagos to address this critical issue. You have a lot of work ahead of you, and I will therefore try to keep my comments short and leave you as much as time as possible to get on with your important work.
IMPORTANCE OF CLIMATE CHANGE
I don’t need to tell you that climate change whatever we do, it is going to affect the lives of our children even more. The actions we take now will determine how much. By taking immediate, real and positive steps, and by enjoining others to take action with us, we can limit those effects.
Climate change is not just a challenge for Lagos, or Nigeria, or the UK. It’s something which faces the whole world. It is for that reason that we need to take action, not just locally but globally. We need to work together- NGOs researchers, businesses, state governments, federal governments and countries, to find solutions and agree common goals. Working together is the only way that we will mitigate the effects of climate change.
The British Government is trying to do its bit. There, there are difficult decisions to be made, and the present economic environment only makes them harder. But we remain committed to making effective changes, and raising awareness about the way people think about climate and energy issues.
We are committed to reducing emissions by at least 30% by 2020. We are also leading the way in supporting the poorest countries deal with the consequences of climate change. At CoP 18 the UK supported the EU in making clear financial commitment to the international climate fund.
We acknowledge that adaptation efforts should include managing the risks of loss and damage. By our significant commitments of international climate finance we are helping countries adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.
We have also supported development of crops, crops that will help increase the resilience of countries and communities. These include drought tolerant varieties of maize and flood resistant varieties of rice we are optimistic that locally our investments will yield positive results.
Closer home, the British High Commission in Abuja has appointed a new officer with responsibility for science, innovation and climate change. This new post will have specific responsibility for developing scientific and academic links between Nigeria and the U.K to find and implement solutions to local challenges including on climate change and renewable energy.
NIGERIA AND UK TOGETHER
I’m pleased to say that Nigeria and Lagos in particular is taking positive approach towards addressing the issue of climate change. The UK is keen to work with you in the public and private sectors,in addressing the local challenges faced due to climate change. As you may know, UK Trade and Investment took a Nigerian delegation to attend the Green Technology Road Show in London recently, where forward –looking Nigerian businesses were able to increase their knowledge capacity and pursue partnerships. The opportunities are there to make green Lagos a thriving part of your economic emergence. The UK is ready to help you find partners to develop those opportunities.
We are engaged in discussions with the honorable commissioner for energy and minerals in particular on renewable energy such as solar to power street lamps, energy from waste and Hydro- power. I took forward to pursuing that to develop our common interests. E are not just collaborating on trade. The UK is currently in discussion with the energy commission of Nigeria to develop a sophisticated carbon supply and demand forecasting tool for Nigeria. This tool has been developed to British Government and successfully implemented in other countries. Once in place, it will give Nigeria better evidence supporting targeted actions to improve emissions.
NIGERIA ON THE GLOBAL STAGE
I’ve said that Nigeria is taking positive steps. But Nigeria should just content itself with taking actions at home. This is a powerful country, with one of the strongest voices in Africa. The evidence you develop here and the practices that you adopt should be shared with other African countries. On the global stage, you have an important role to play in ensuring that Africa presents itself as a pro-active partner in the fight to mitigate the effects of Climate change.
And Lagos state is at the forefront of all this, leading the way as it does in so many areas of Nigerian public life. Your focus today and more generally on the governance and legal structure of climate change in this state goes to the hearth of the issue. Without a legislative infrastructure and effective governance in place, achieving real change in economic models and public and privatebehavior become significantly more difficult. But I have every confidence in your ability to produce results that will not only meet Lagos’s needs but provide a template for others to adopt across Nigeria.
Climate change presents us with many challenges, requiring different but complementing solutions. The forward thinking innovative approach you are taking in Lagos is an important step towards developing those solutions. I hope you have a successful event, and I look forward to a continued partnership between Nigeria and the UK in the months and years to come.