By Ejike Ejike, Abuja
The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA has partnered with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO in a bid to seek modern and indigenous ways of tackling climate change in Nigeria.
Speaking at an expert meeting on Interfacing Modern and Indigenous Early warning systems for disaster reduction, the director general of NEMA, Engr. Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja said “Informal Disaster risk management in Nigeria, and Africa at large has been profoundly rooted in local communities even before the advent Of modern sciences. Indigenous knowledge has been applied in evaluating climate trends and further used to establish early warning in our communities particularly with regards to rainfall patterns.
“However, with the intensity and frequency of the changing pattern of climate and its impacts, the effectiveness of indigenous knowledge for disaster risk reduction measures is becoming grossly inadequate; there is therefore a need to link modern science with indigenous knowledge in order to build a culture of early warning systems and disaster risk reduction by vulnerable communities to the negative consequences of climate change.
“The combination of both indigenous knowledge and modern science is inevitable; none completely can stand-alone or excludes the other if our goal is to assure a reduction in loss of life and property.
The DG, who was represented by the Director, Disaster Risks Reduction, Alh. Alhasan Nuhu, tasked the participants to provide contribution that will help in early warnings for disaster risk reduction, noting that “I like to urge all the experts present to consider this an assignment of National importance and ensure their contributions will stimulate early warnings for disaster risk reduction and sustainable development in the country.”
Also speaking at the event, the director, representative of UNESCO Regional Office in Abuja, Mr. Yao Ydo noted that the event is focused on the Lake Chad Basin because, “as we all know that ecosystem is severely affected by the impacts of climate change with terrible human and environmental consequences. These consequences manifest themselves in the forms of insecurity, social dislocation. economic disruption and environmental degradation, among others.
“The Lake Chad Basin is a very fragile area from the security, Socio-economic, political and environmental standpoints. By virtue of the location of Lake Chad and the scale of the problem, a regional approach is required to tackle these problems.”
He further stated that “in order to achieve such an approach, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Lake Chad Basin commission established a Programme namely Rehabilitation and Strengthening the Resilience Of Socio-Ecological Systems of the Lake Chad Basin (PRESIBALT). This programme is geared towards enhancing the resilience of vulnerable populations of Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria, and Chad. These countries depend on the Lake basin’s natural resources.”
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