By Nkechi Isaac, Abuja
Female journalists under the auspices of Women in Media Initiative (WIMI) have been positioned to drive Nigeria’s climate change agenda, especially the implementation of the nation’s nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement.
Speaking during a strategic webinar with the NDC Media Women Working Group, with the theme ‘The role of women journalists towards the achievement of Nigeria’s NDCs’ organised by the Federal Ministry of Environment with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and in collaboration with WIMI, the acting director of the Department of Climate Change, Mrs Halima Bawa-Bwari, pointed out that climate change was disrupting national economies and costing the world heavily.
She recalled that the Federal Government had signed the NDC under the Paris Agreement in 2015 and ratified same in 2016 as part of government’s efforts to mitigate the negative effects of climate change and contain the impending humanitarian crisis.
Bawa-Bwari said in 2018, Nigeria received the backing of the UNDP’s NDC Support Programme to advance the implementation of its NDC, adding NDC Media Working Women’s Group was part of efforts to involve women, especially those in the media to be at the forefront of driving the implementation of the nation’s NDCs.
“Government is committed to domesticating the elements of this global agreement and the NDCs’ targets but cannot do it alone, hence the need to create a media working group which would be saddled with the responsibility of giving visibility and amplifying government’s efforts and action to the general public to get their buy-in and involvement towards the realisation of the set objectives.
“In view of this, a sub-component of the activity also focused on reaching out to women journalists to ensure gender balance, inclusiveness and ‘leaving no one behind’ was formed.
“This aims to create platforms to consistently engage and communicate the opportunities in the NDCs to women in the media, particularly its rationale and opportunities for women, and benefits. It also seeks to understand the needs of women journalists in their expected role in the NDC implementation process. The Department of Climate Change under the Federal Ministry of Environment will ensure capacities of participants will be strengthened to adequately engage and participate in the ongoing NDC revision and implementation process, including any other related climate change actions,” she said.
In his remarks, the UNDP representative, Mr Muyiwa Odele, said the interaction was to find ways to continually engage women journalists by finding out areas where they have challenges with a view to build their capacity to drive information dissemination on the climate change agenda.
According to him, “The role of women in driving the implementation of the climate change agenda is a very strategic one hence the need to convene this meeting to learn the challenges you might be facing in education, sensitizing the public on the importance of mitigating negative effects of climate change.”
He said the UNDP was willing and ready “to build your capacity and partner with you to achieve this objective.”
In his paper presentation, the chief executive officer, Natural Echo Capital, Dr. Eugene Itua, commended government for commitment and enthusiasm in its rollout toward NDC implementation.
Itua pointed out that the government could not do it alone, adding everyone at every level including, business leaders, investors and civil society must contribute to the implementation.
He advised that the private sector should be engaged in order to mobilise resources, knowledge and innovation to address climate change and promote green growth.
“It is widely accepted that business models are the vehicle for innovation in order to meet the latent needs of society.
“The strategic and well-formed inclusion of the private sector in climate change adaptation and mitigation planning and activities must be key part of Nigeria’s efforts in meeting her NDC targets,” he said.
Earlier, the coordinator-UNDP-NDC Support Programme, Huzi Mshelia, said the working group was part of UNDP-Gender Initiative to foster gender equality and empowerment of women in achieving the NDCs.
Listing ways women journalists can help in achieving this objective Huzi said they could ensure public awareness and participation was achieved-using their respective platforms; seek to coordinate and connect the interlinked processes of climate change and gender equality, by using NDCs as a platform.
He further said the group offered an opportunity to promote inclusive and successful development outcomes, ensure that gender equality aspects were factored into the NDC processes by leveraging analysis, strengthening institutional mechanisms, ensuring gender-responsive climate actions and disseminating best practices to enhance national-level capacities; and holding government to account for its performance under the Paris Agreement especially meeting its NDC targets.