By Funmilola Gboteku
The UK Government, on Sunday said it would be working with Nigeria to address the challenges of climate change in the country.
The British High Commission in Nigeria made this known in statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
It said this was discussed on Feb. 11 and 12 when the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) President-Designate, Alok Sharma MP, visited Nigeria.
According to the commission, the President-Designate, met with leaders from government and private sector and civil society, stressing the need for urgent climate change action ahead of the UK-hosted COP26 Summit in November in Glasgow.
It said the COP26 summit would bring parties together to accelerate action toward the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The commission said Sharma held high-level talks with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, the Minister of Environment, Muhammad Mahmood and the Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, among others.
Speaking at the end of his visit, COP26 President-Designate, Alok Sharma said, “As the incoming COP Presidency, the UK takes its role seriously and seeks to raise ambition to tackle climate change globally.
“I have come here to meet political and civil society leaders to discuss and see first-hand, some of the many climate change vulnerabilities Nigeria faces.
“These includes deforestation, rising temperatures and flooding, as well as the need to transition from oil to cleaner energies that will sustainably serve what is projected to be the world’s third most populous country by 2050.
“I commend President Muhammadu Buhari for the steps taking toward collective and sustainable efforts that will put climate change, biodiversity and nature based solutions first, and will enhance all Nigerians’ prosperity, health and security,” Sharma said.
He said that Nigeria’s urban areas were at risk from climate change impacts such as flooding.
He said the UK government was committed to championing action to avert, minimise and address the loss and damage suffered by communities vulnerable to climate change.
British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, said, “Climate change remains a global concern that requires collective efforts, and this visit underlines the UK’s support for Nigeria in its battle against climate change.
“This is an all of society approach to meeting the most demanding challenges of our time and I am glad that Sharma, took the time to shine a spotlight.
“And raise the profile of young activists and entrepreneurs he met during this trip, “Laing said.
The Minister for Environment, Mohammad Abubakar, said that it was good to meet Sharma, to discuss a range of issues on Nigeria’s climate change agenda.
“We welcome the UK’s leadership on this critical global agenda and look forward to its hosting a COP26 this November.
“It firmly recognises the particular needs and circumstances of Nigeria’s and Africa’s climate change challenges,” he said.
Abubakar, however, said that Nigeria would continue to look forward to the support of the UK as the country rises to meet those challenges in ways that protect the environment while supporting economic growth. (NAN).