The Minister of the Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi, says the Federal Government has made giant strides in its quest to ensure resilience to decarbonisation and climate change.
Abdullahi said this while inaugurating the Geographic Information System (GIS) Science and Services Laboratory and Soundbite of the proposed Climate Leadership Certification Programme and Symposium, at the University of Lagos recently.
The laboratory is UNILAG’s Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Environment and Social Inclusion (CoESESI).
According to him, the stride has projected Nigeria’s position among the climate change compliant nations, globally.
He added that the Climate Leadership Programme in the centre, in the university, would further compliment the laudable efforts of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in ensuring clean environment.
The minister said that the programme by the university would enable both government and the private sector actors to acquire the much-needed skills to reduce the country’s global warming emissions.
He noted that the development had projected Nigeria’s position among climate change compliant nations globally.
“In the country’s quest to pursue trajectory toward green growth decarbonisation, carbon neutrality, and improved resilience to climate change, Nigeria has been positioned among climate change compliant nations globally and this is heart-warming.
“Let me reiterate that this Centre of Excellence will serve as a platform toward achieving stronger partnerships between government agencies and academic institutions.
“Such partnership will deepen and sustain the successes recorded under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
“It should also be emphasisd that the facility will also add value in different areas of interest for research in climate change, environmental and social risks, not only in Nigeria, but globally,” he said.
The minister noted that the Federal Ministry of the Environment under the guidance of President Buhari sought to ensure environmental protection, natural resources conservation and sustainable development.
According to him, since its establishment, the ministry has impacted on raising environmental conscientiousness in the minds of Nigerians in line with global best practices.
Abdullahi added that it had focused on involving innovative strategies that emphasised the use of environmental re-engineering as a veritable tool for job creation, poverty reduction, ensure food security, as well as encouraging sustainable economic development.
He added that the choice of University of Lagos for the centre by the ministry through the National Erosion and Watershed Project (NEWMAP) was not by accident.
“It was based on the fact that the institution is one of the first-generation universities in the country and is ranked among the top universities in the world, in major educational publications.
“While the Federal Government recognises the need to emplace a facility to support sustainable environment and social inclusion in line with national development priorities, develop a framework for achieving low greenhouse emission and inclusive green growth.
“It does, therefore, imply that a robust GIS Unit/laboratory can accelerate our national response to the menace of degradation.
“I want to say that what I have seen here today at this inauguration gives me joy and I must say that it easily passes as the best in Africa. Let me assure that we will partner with this laboratory by way of funds, equipment and exchange of information to ensure that it achieve its mandate,” the minister stated.
Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, in his welcome address, said the plan to make the centre the converging point in Africa that could compete globally in the field of environment, was laudable and a step in the right direction.
Ogundipe said the move showed the clarity of purpose, confidence, commitment, intentionality for impact and sagacity of the Federal Government in ensuring that capacities that compete globally, are built and strengthened through local institutions such as UNILAG.
“Indeed, we do not take this opportunity for granted and are immensely grateful to government and to you the Minister of Environment for this consideration.
“Here in the University of Lagos, things and structure do not deteriorate or reduce. Rather, they grow and multiply in great dimensions and this will be our commitment for this Centre.
“The GIS Science and Service Laboratory inaugurated today, is just one among the infrastructural strengthening and upgrading that are at different stages of completion.
“Our unique value is also the strong practice component of our programmes that ensure that skills that permit participants to be practitioners in the field of environment are infused along the academic components of the programmes.
“We will achieve this in collaboration with practitioners from the industry who will interface using the flexible platform in our virtual learning environment that would be powered from the central hub in the phase two project,” he said.
The vice chancellor assured that the university would continue to seek support, especially in the promotion and sponsorship of participants from the various departments.
He commended the Federal Government and the Federal Ministry of Environment for the cooperation received especially in mounting the proposed Climate Change Leadership Certificate programme for corporate bodies.
Prof. Wellington Oyibo, co-Director of the centre, said the GIS Science and Service Laboratory would primarily support the CoESESI in the delivery of core certification courses in Environmental Assessment, Climate Risk Management, Social Safeguards and Gender and Development.
He noted that it would also provide services and support in spatial data collection, geographic analytics, and training to private and public sector organisations.
Oyibo said plans were on to ensure that the courses commenced in September.