The one-day Climate Change Consultative meeting, facilitated by Gender and Development Action (GADA), under the auspices of the National Coalition on Oil-Spills and Gas-Flaring in the Niger-Delta (NACGOND) held at the State Ministry of Women Affairs, Calabar, had just ended; with very important recommendations from stakeholders for Cross River State.
The, Consultative meeting was geared towards discussing the development of a multi-sectored Gender Responsive Climate Change Policy and Action in Cross River State that captures current Climate Change threats. Robust discussions around Gender Responsive Climate Action Strategies, Social Inclusion in the interventions and programming around Climate Change Adaptation, Resilience, Mitigation, Social inequities that increases the vulnerability to Climate Change and other critical cross cutting areas that will ensure the mainstreaming of the SDGs and other Sectors in building a Climate Resilient Cross River State.
Mrs. Inyingi Irimagha presented a draft of Climate Change Policy Brief and the following recommendations for Cross River State:
That budget officers’ capacity should be built in respect to gender responsive budgeting; when forest is destroyed for the purpose of farming, government should provide alternative land for regeneration to replace the destroyed forest.
Further recommendations dwelled on the need for government MDAs to take responsibilities and synergize for an all-inclusive approach to tackling climate change; environmental policies should be reviewed to capture new issues identified with respect to Climate Change and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as the need for Cross River State Government to practice and encourage silviculture.
Women capacity in Cross River State should be built on alternative livelihood since most women are farmers and they depend on agriculture.
Cross River State Government should develop tree nurseries at different points across the state as well as give out the nursed trees to citizens free of charge to encourage tree planting in the state.
Other highlights were:
the is need for Cross River State government to adapt programmes to take care of vulnerable groups (e.g. people living with disabilities, women, children etc) that are in most cases worse affected by the impact of climate change.
Young persons, women and people living with disabilities should be seen as contributors to climate action and not only as vulnerable population.
All climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilient actions should be set in the context of Sustainable Development.
Social inclusion should be considered in all phases of mitigation, adaptation and climate resilience building action by Cross River State Government.
Climate Change Education should be inculcated in Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Educational Curriculum through Cross River State Ministry of Education.
Cross River State government should create a Green Climate Fund that will be utilized for the provision of some green technology in the state as a climate change mitigation measure.
There should be Gender Responsive and Social inclusive budget allocations to fund climate change initiatives in Cross River State.
Cross River State should initiate Climate Smart Agricultural Interventions that can benefit young people, people with disabilities, to enhance food security among vulnerable groups.
Waste to Wealth Initiatives and Green Economy initiatives should be implemented in Cross River State to reduce carbon emissions while diversifying the state economy sustainably.
Cross River State government should ensure new projects/companies comply to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Laws.
Participants also observed as follows:
That there is no proper need assessment to cater for different segment of the society (women, people with disabilities etc) in the budgeting process to capture activities that affect them with respect to Climate change.
There are more female headed households which make women and children more vulnerable to climate change in terms of access to resources.
Inaccessibility of women to land inheritance in some communities in Cross River hinders women to mitigate climate change effectively.
Deforestation of virgin forest from the activities of WILMAR company to develop their oil palm plantation.
There is no educational curriculum on climate change to be taught in Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Institutions.
The timeframe for the review of policy on environment is too long.
Duplication of roles and lack of synergies among related government MDAs that are concerned with the issues of climate change.
Lack of adequate enforcement and lack of provision of alternative livelihood to support the policy on the ban on logging.
Reduced life expectancy caused by air pollution by quarry/cement companies in host communities leading to death as a result of respiratory and skin diseases, as well as lack of gender responsive policy.