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Lagos govt takes climate change to communities

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Lagos State government is putting in place a community –based initiative to ensure coherent response to climate change.

Speaking at the Pre-summit dialogue on climate change in Lagos State organised by DFID-funded State Accountability and Voice Initiative (SAVI) in  collaboration with a network of Civil Society Organisations (CSO), Mr. Maximus Ugwuoke of Climatic Change Unit (CCU), Ministry of Environment, Lagos State, said the state government has embarked on sensitising the people, particularly in the communities on early warnings on climatic change, such as cleaning drainages, stating that the non-governmental organisation (NGOs) also have role to play in this regard.

He noted that the state government through the Ministry of Environment has taken steps to implement all the recommendations made in the past summits since 2009.

Taking on each of the recommendations, Ugwuoke said the state policy draft on policy and action was ready, adding that there have been series of local government and community summits on climate change including documentary drama in Yoruba dialect to be taken round all the local government areas during the year.

He said the state is strengthening its ongoing collaboration with developmental partners such as UNDP, UNIDO, Clinton Foundation, British Council, DFID and private sector to manage climate change.

“The Ministry is building capacities of local government to lead the way in climatic change adaptation. Resident engineers have been deployed to local governments as a bottom-up approach to climatic change adaptation,” he said.  

Ugwouke assured that the government has the political will to implement the decisions and suggestions arrived at the summit, adding that the government is also working with the World Bank and state House of Assembly on climate change.     

In her presentation entitled: Assessing Score Card of the Lagos State Summits on Climate Change: A civil society perspective, director, programmes, community conservation and development initiatives, Kofo Adeleke, observed that local governments in the state which supervise communities have remained invisible in the various summits, stating that there was complete disconnect between the House of Assembly Climate Change Committee and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Unit.

She pointed out that Lagos State climate change policy is still in its draft, stressing that a sound policy would enable the state to build up resilience, reduce vulnerability and response to climate change threat and achieve sustainable development.

Yemisi Ransome-Kuti of Coalition for Issue Based Politics and Good Governance (CIPOGG), said the state government and the various agencies should be proactive rather than reactive on issues relating to climate change, adding that there should be massive awareness and sound communication
She suggested capacity building in the community and establishment of green code for new estates and buildings.

Earlier in his address, State team leader of SAVI Mr. Felix Obanubi, made case for adequate data on climate change, stressing that enough has not be done on policies, awareness, research and exposure on the impact of climatic change.

He called for strong collaboration between the civil societies, media and the state environment ministry.

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