17TH NCE: Minister Calls for more Financial In-Flow for Environment Sector

17TH NCE: Minister Calls for more Financial In-Flow for Environment Sector

…….. … FG also sets to launch 3rd Green Bond.

The Minister of Environment, Balarabe Abbas Lawal has called for swift and innovative actions to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change in the country by mobilising more financial inflows to support environmental sustainability.

The Minister stated this at the Ministry’s highest policy decision making body, the 17th Meeting of the National Council of Environment in Abuja, organised by the Federal Ministry of Environment in collaboration with Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.The theme of the meeting, “Environment Financing: Need to mobilise more financial inflows for generating adequate resources in support of environmental sustainability efforts,” underscores the importance of allocating resources towards projects aimed at protecting and preserving the environment.

He disclosed that the council is Nigeria’s highest policy-making body on the environment sector, aimed at deliberating and guiding consultations on environmental issues.

Balarabe highlighted the capital-intensive nature of environment financing and called for the adoption of innovative mechanisms such as green bonds, carbon pricing and public-private partnerships to generate the necessary resources. These mechanisms, he emphasised, are essential for funding effective environmental protection and conservation initiatives.

The Minister stated that in addressing global challenges ranging from climate change to biodiversity loss, there is urgent need for bold and decisive actions to mitigate their adverse effects. He stressed the role of innovation and collaboration in confronting these challenges and urged stakeholders to intensify the exploration and implementation of financing mechanisms.

He tasked stakeholders to redouble their efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, embrace renewable energy solutions, and foster sustainable practices across all sectors. He emphasised the importance of leveraging technology, fostering partnerships, and engaging diverse stakeholders to forge a path towards a more resilient and sustainable future.

As custodians of biodiversity, Lawal emphasised the importance of safeguarding precious ecosystems from degradation and exploitation. He underscored the moral obligation to preserve the rich tapestry of life on Earth and called for the enforcement of environmental justice to ensure equitable distribution of benefits.

The Minister making case for more budgetary support from government highlighted the importance of protecting forests and addressing environmental crimes. He called for collaborative efforts to evaluate and address challenges facing the environment.

Balarabe stated that mobilising more financial inflow for environmental sustainability is essential because it allows for the application of resources toward projects and initiatives aimed at protecting and preserving the environment.

“As we are aware, environmental financing is a capital necessity. Mobilising more financial inflows for management is a need even for innovative financing mechanisms such as the green bond, which I think we are almost there. We’ve been on it for a very long time. I believe that in the next few months, we are going to issue the third green bond”.

“It is also important for you to start thinking of trying to issue green bonds, carbon pricing, and public-private partnerships. This will help generate the resources needed for effective environmental protection and conservation efforts.

“I, therefore, ask members of this council to intensify exploration and implementation of financing accounting at this level.”

Looking for innovative ways for sustainable financing, the Minister pointed out that the government had in 2017 issued a maiden N10.69 billion green bond with a five-year tenor to fund projects for the development of renewable energy and with the successful first issuance in 2017, Nigeria became the first country in Africa to take such initiative. In 2019, the government announced its second green bond issuance of up to N15bn.

The Minister in his address at the Council announced that the government will issue the third green bond to facilitate environmental financing in the next few months.

“We must redouble our efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, embrace renewable energy solutions, and foster sustainable practices across all sectors.

“As guardians of biodiversity, we must safeguard our precious ecosystems from degradation and exploitation. Protecting our forests, wetlands, and marine habitats is not merely an environmental imperative but a moral obligation to preserve the rich tapestry of life on earth,” he said.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Minister of State for Environment, Dr Iziaq Adekunle Salako, said it is imperative to place the highest premium on the health and sustainability of the environment.

“It is a widely accepted maxim that without money, ambitions are prone to become wishful thinking and intended actions paralysed. Our gathering here at this NCE to examine innovative ways of funding our ambitions and actioning our thoughts is therefore a critical imperative.

“As important as the environment sector is, we still have to compete with other sectors for the limited funds available in both the public and private sectors. We therefore need to think more outside the box, and be more transparent, evidence-driven, and result-oriented to attract the needed funds to our sector,” Dr Salako said.

Salako emphasised the need for stakeholders in the public and private sectors to forge strategic partnerships to mobilise funding and create innovative models to combat environmental crises in the country.

“The Federal Ministry of Environment is well prepared to take leadership in this regard and has been implementing innovative financing mechanisms like the issuance of the Nigeria Sovereign Green Bond to drive private sector funding into the system.

“I invite state governments to come on board and examine the opportunities for climate financing through the issuance of their green bonds,” he said.

In his goodwill message, the FAO representative in Nigeria and ECOWAS, Koffy Dominique, said there is a need to chart a course for a sustainable and thriving future for Nigeria as the environment is under increasing pressure from climate change, deforestation, and pollution, among others.

Dominique, who was represented by Tofiq Braimah said once appropriate conditions are in place, it becomes easier for investment opportunities towards emission reductions.

“Progress has been made but more actions need to be taken in institutionalising transformational planning, from multisectoral integrated programming and investments, including leveraging the support of the private sector, and ensuring policy coherence in addressing the drivers of our environmental challenges.

“FAO is committed to supporting the government at all levels to enhance sustainable natural resources management, and this includes support to implement, monitor and report climate commitments outlined in the National Determined Contribution document, continuous support to accessing climate finance and partnership and technical support to mainstreaming agrifood systems to the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans, among governments
Dominique further highlighted the increasing pressure on the environment from climate change, deforestation and pollution. He stressed the need to mobilise more financial inflows to support environmental sustainability efforts and underscored FAO’s commitment to supporting government initiatives in this regard.

Similarly, addressing climate change mitigation efforts in the South-South region, the project coordinator of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), Prof. Nenibarini Zabby highlighted HYPREP’s role in implementing recommendations for environmental remediation in the Ogoni community. He emphasised the importance of clean-up efforts and restoration projects in contributing to environmental well-being and human health.

Zabby emphasised the need for a review process to ensure that remediation efforts meet the objectives of providing job opportunities and restoring degraded lands. He highlighted HYPREP’s efforts in cleaning up oil-impacted lands and restoring mangroves in the Ogoni community.

The meeting underscored the critical importance of environment financing in addressing global environmental challenges. It emphasised the need for innovative financing mechanisms and collaborative efforts to mobilise resources for effective environmental protection and conservation. As stakeholders continue to work towards environmental sustainability, collective action and commitment are essential to ensure a healthier and cleaner planet for future generation

Ibrahim Haruna
Head, Press and Public Relations Unit