Archive | November, 2011

Nigeria- Empty Handed in Durban

30 Nov

By Ewah Otu Eleri, Executive Director, International Centre for Energy, Environment & Development

The Durban Climate Change Conference started this week. Nigeria will be represented with over a hundred official delegates. This comes in addition to scores of NGO representatives and the media. In past meetings, the Nigerian contingent had been one of the largest of all countries. Ordinarily, this should signal the level of importance we attach to the issue of climate change. But this has not been so.

Ahead of this climate change conference, the Nigerian media had increasingly demanded to know what key issues the country will take to the negotiation table. Over the past three years, calls for clear national positions on international climate change negotiations have become relentless. Our government has relentlessly responded with a deafening silence.

Under pressure from civil society, the government has developed a “position paper”. This has neither an actionable political commitment by the Federal Government or clear priorities for our country. This sense of drift and lack of political leadership on this issue cannot continue.

Climate change will be one of the main forces shaping our country in the next twenty years. For instance, the links between worsening climatic conditions and national security, especially in parts of the North may only get stronger. If no action is taken to address climate-induced desertification, the agricultural economy in the North will crumble. More young people will be out of work and religious extremism will be there as a last resort. Our policy makers are yet to wake up to this reality.

Nigeria’s stakes in international cooperation on climate change are many and compelling. But if these issues are too complex for the attention span of our political leaders, perhaps we should simplify them. How about a one-point agenda? Could Nigeria offer to end gas flaring in exchange for investments in gas power plants, gas gathering and transportation systems? Our country requires about 7.5 trillion Naira new investments in clean gas energy projects. Here will be a chance to end the electricity supply crisis, reduce the environmental pressure on the people of the Niger Delta and make Africa’s most important contribution to reducing emission of these harmful gases. How about that?

But why is the current government not taking appropriate actions on climate change? The reason is simple. Measures to address this problem are fundamental to our economy and political life – be it petroleum or agriculture. But the officials currently running Nigeria’s response to climate change neither control the economy nor have political power. That’s why we are stuck.

Until we reform climate change governance and ensure that it is integrated into economic decisions, the current drift will continue. Like Copenhagen and Cancun climate change conferences with huge Nigerian entourage, we are heading to Durban empty-handed and may return empty-handed. The year 2012 must therefore be a year of climate change governance reform. If we don’t get it right at home, our hopes of success in international negotiations will be blighted.

State of Qatar to host COP18/CMP 8

29 Nov

(Durban, 29 November 2011) The State of Qatar and the Republic of Korea have agreed to closely cooperate to make the next major UN Climate Change Conference at the end of 2012 a success.

The 2012 UN Climate Change Conference, COP 18/CMP 8 (the 18th Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC, plus the 8th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol), will take place in Qatar from 26 November to 7 December 2012.

The Republic of Korea will host a ministerial meeting to prepare for COP18/CMP 8. Such ministerial meetings are a tradition in the UNFCCC negotiations and are instrumental in clarifying, at a high-level, central issues in the weeks before a COP.

The announcement was made at the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban (28 November to 9 December), following agreement among the Asian Group of countries.

“I congratulate these two countries on their commitment to work together in the lead up to and during the COP. Both countries are leaders in their own ways, and can generate strong synergies to put the world on a more climate-safe path,” said UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres.”All governments working together on the next essential climate steps can be inspired by this collaborative spirit,” she added.

The State of Qatar and the Republic of Korea will make joint efforts to globally promote and implement the green growth agenda at and in the run-up to the conference.

The Republic of Korea has championed the concept of the “green economy”, which links green growth to sustainable development and poverty eradication, and will be a central issue under discussion at the Rio+20 summit to be held in June next year in Rio de Janeiro.

The State of Qatar, as one of the world’s main energy exporters, expressed its eagerness in Durban to secure progress in the UN climate change negotiations, and support to the endeavours of developing countries, including small island developing States, in adapting to the inevitable effects of climate change.

The UNFCCC’s annual Conferences of the Parties are rotated between the five UN regional groups, with the African Group this year hosting COP 17 in Durban, South Africa.

Durban prospects for Nigeria, others

28 Nov

By Michael Simire Deputy Sunday Editor, Daily Independent

Two major issues will be of outmost concern to Nigeria and other developing nations attending the United Nations Climate Change Summit that commences in Durban, South Africa next week: the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Kyoto Protocol (KP).

While countries are set, on one hand, to finally decide on the KP’s future – something they have put off for several years; the modalities and sources of finance for the GCF is, on the other, expected to be finalised.

A structure designed in 1997 to curb greenhouse gas (GHG) (or carbon) emissions – essentially from industrialised countries, the KP’s initial phase ends in 2012. Nigeria and other developing nations are clamouring for a second commitment period, stressing that a follow-up should, just like the original agreement, ensure that wealthy countries agree unilaterally to cut steeper emissions and poorer ones cut carbon voluntarily after financial assistance from the rich.

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is a notable feature of the KP that numerous developing nations are involved in. The CDM provides option for a developed nation to buy emission reduction credits (CERs) from a project in a developing country. The CDM has so far financed low carbon projects in developing nations to the tune of $187 billion.

But the KP’s – and thus the CDM’s – outlook appears uncertain as Japan, Canada and the Russian Federation have said that no new treaty is possible unless all major economies – including the United States and China – agree to the same legal terms. The European Union has, however, left the door open to a second commitment period, pointing out that it would agree to a second phase only if it were linked to a solid agreement detailing how and when other countries’ pledges would be placed onto a legally agreement.

Of concern is the fact that there seems to be no definitive market for Nigerian and some other ‘African countries’ CDM credits after 2012. The EU has included the CDM credits only for the group of Least Developed Countries (LDCs), of which Nigeria does not belong. So, will the EU at Durban propose to accept CERs from all African countries and not just the LDCs after 2012?

Indeed, an extension of the KP or reaching another global agreement that makes significant use of CDM credits in Nigeria would increase demand and encourage more project development. Nigeria currently operates five CDM projects, three of which are gas capture schemes.

Also, Durban will decide whether Kyoto Protocol or Annex-1 financing through CDM type mechanism will be extended to post 2012, just as BASIC and other emerging countries will consider moving out of Annex-1 CDM type financing, to ensure progress in post 2012 talks.

Further, the decision whether to include market-based mechanisms such as CDM and carbon markets as part of developing country NAMAs will be taken at Durban, and could affect the development of Nigeria’s NAMA and resulting projects. In fact, uncertainties surrounding the KP’s continuation in the post-2012 era are likely to slow down the nation’s drive towards reducing emissions especially from gas flaring, which is currently supported by CDM income.

Will the GCF’s modalities and sources of funding finalised in Durban? Wealthy nations have vowed to deliver $100 billion annually by 2020 for poor and vulnerable nations to adapt to climate impacts and develop low-carbon economies. To make this a reality, countries have been in the process of establishing a format for the GCF, agreed to at last year’s summit in Cancun, Mexico.

A Transitional Committee comprising 40 members from developed and developing countries (excluding Nigeria) are mandated to design the GCF and make recommendation for the approval of the COP in Durban. A Standing Committee will assist the COP in mobilising financial resources and ensuring that it is measurable, reportable and verifiable. The World Bank was approved as the interim GCF trustee, which will administer the fund, subject to review three years after its (the fund’s) operationalisation.

Where the money will come from is generating controversy. Developing countries insist that the money – perceived as compensation to poor countries for the environmental harm industrialised ones caused by emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for decades – comes from public coffers in the United States, European countries, Australia, Japan and other wealthy nations.

But the US and others do not see it that way – they insist that developing countries should have no say in where the money they get comes from. They maintain that, in line with the agreement in Cancun, it is up to developed countries how best to raise the money.

Nigeria however appears to lack an institutionalised framework that supports a domestic climate finance regime. The First National Communications under the UNFCCC last prepared in 2003 provides some form of guide on national circumstances on climate change, minus the financial needs assessment of what is required to address the situation. Though several climate change initiatives are being proposed, including the setting up of a Climate Change Trust Fund, most of such initiatives seem not within the context of any policy and are indeed yet to materialise.

A key requirement for accessing international funding is the ability for recipient country to demonstrate financial managerial integrity, with strong institutional and legal capacity to monitor and track funds in the implementation of projects and programmes. These condition precedents have fully come to play in the operations of funds like the Adaptation Fund and the World Bank’s Climate Investment Funds, thereby underlying the role of strong national institutions for climate governance.

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), the climate change mitigation strategy that compensates poor nations for keeping their forests standing, will likewise get a look-in at Durban. The forum will decide whether the REDD mechanism will get a final shape to be used for compliance.

Recently, Nigeria made a breakthrough in its REDD+ Process when it was given the all-clear by the United Nations REDD Programme to access a $4 million fund to kick-start its local programme, which the state of Calabar in the nation’s South-South region is promoting.

The fund will support the country’s capacity to prepare and implement REDD+ strategies with the active involvement of local stakeholders, including Indigenous Peoples and other forest-dependent communities, with the ultimate goal of contributing to the global fight against climate change.

But some loose REDD+ ends might need to be tied at Durban, such as those related to appropriately defining the concept. It appears that words like “forest degradation,” “sustainable management of forests” and “conservation” are yet to be defined; a situation that could stall the measurement of progress or pay for performance, which is central to the REDD+ discussions.

Additionally, experts are of the view that more guidance is required for countries to develop national reference emissions levels (RELs), which will determine the potential compensation a country could receive from REDD+ for a given level of activity.

While Nigeria undergoes a series of pre-COP 17 deliberations that would decide the country’s official position at the global forum, it is pertinent that stakeholders strive to ensure that the interests of Africa in general – and Nigeria in particular – are properly reflected in the outcome of Durban. Indeed, parties should go all-out for a breakthrough to inherent questions if they are to be seen as serious about climate change.

Covering the UN Climate Change Conference COP17 in Durban

27 Nov

Three African journalists at the COP16 in Mexico, (from left to right, Winnie Onyimbo from Kenya and Ugochi Anyaka and Jennifer Igwe from Nigeria) interviewed Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough, the World Bank manager for environment and natural resources for Africa. Photo by Andrew C. Revkin


What is the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol?

Where does the political action take place?

Who meets where?

Who keeps an eye on things?

Who speaks out?

What are essential tools for reporting?

The UNFCCC-What is it?

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change:

There are 195 Parties (194 countries + EU) which equals near universal membership

The ultimate objective of the Convention:

 ..stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system..(Art. 2)

…. annual meetings of all Parties at the Conference of the Parties (COP) to take decisions

 The Kyoto Protocol -What is it?

192 countries + EU, Commitment period: 2008 – 2012

Main features

  • Legally binding targets for emissions of greenhouse gases in industrialized countries during first commitment period
  • Reduction of about 5% at the end of 2012
  • New international market-based instruments creating a new commodity: carbon (emissions trading, CDM)
  • Valuable architecture, but scope not commensurate with the scale of the problem

Further important agreements you’ll hear a lot about:

  • Cancun Agreements 2010
  • Bali Action Plan/Bali Road Map2007
  • Agreement on long-term finance of 100 billion USD by 2020
  • Agreement on fast start finance of 10 billion USD annually through 2012
  • Agreement on Measurable, Reportable, Verifiable (MRV) actions


  • COP (Conference of the Parties .194 countries + EU)
  • COP/CMP (COP serving as meeting to the Kyoto Protocol -192 countries +EU)
  • AWG-LCA (Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention, founded 2007, 195 Parties)
  • AWG-KP(Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol ,founded 2005, 193 Parties)
  • SBSTA (Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice)
  • SBI (Subsidiary Body for Implementation)

This hall won't be recognised in a few hours. Will be super busy!!!!


  •  GREEN CLIMATE FUND –  A tool to finance climate change action, both adaptation and mitigation, in developing countries
  • Technology Mechanisms – with Technology Committee and Climate Technology Centre .technology for mitigation and adaptation
  •  Adaptation Framework + Committee – to coordinate adaptation action in developing countries


Annex 1

  • G77 and China (135 countries) Presidency in 2011: Argentina
  • African Group (53 countries)
  • LDCs (Least Developed Countries) 49 countries
  • AOSIS (Alliance of Small Island States, 43 countries
  • ALBA group: Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua

Non-Annex 1

  • Umbrella group: US, Russia, Ukraine Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Australia
  • EU: European Union, 27 countries
  • Environmental Integrity Group: Switzerland + Mexico and South Korea (both OECD)

 Who keeps an eye on things and watches closely on behalf of the public?  (CIVIL SOCIETY AND OBSERVERS)

  • Around 1400 Groups accredited to the UNFCCC
  • Engos (environmental NGOs), Ringos (religious international NGOs), Bingos(business international NGOs), Indigenous Peoples, Youngos (youth NGO’s), trade unions, faith groups, UN agencies
  • Make up around 50%of all participants
  • Play very important role as observers and experts .but governments decide

Who meets where and what is accessible?

  • Opening ceremonies and plenary (open via CCTV, for pool)
  • Side events, > 200 (open)
  • Happenings (e.g. fossil of the day award)
  • Contact groups (not open)
  • Meetings, including bilateral (not open)


  •  UNFCCC Executive Secretary
  • South African COP Presidency
  • Delegations: EU, USA,G77 and China, African Group etc.
  • CAN (>500 NGOs) and other NGOs
  • UN orgs: WMO, IPCC, UNDP, UNEP etc

 What are the highlights? 


  •  28 November: Grand opening, from 10:00 a.m.
  • 4-6 December; Business events (WEF, WBCSD, UNFCCC)
  • 6 December (p.m.): opening of High Level Segment with UNSG, more than 100 Ministers, all of whom give speeches
  • 9/10 Dec: Closing plenary: sleepless in Durban!

Key documents

  • (Draft) decisions (on UNFCCC web site, at documents counter)
  • Declarations/ Resolutions
  • National speeches (~150)
  •  Press releases
  • Fact sheets and publications


  • CCTV Monitors
  •  Daily programme (UNFCCC)
  • Website <>, with live web cast
  • iPhoneapp .COP 16 Navigator.
  • Announcements
  • Publication ECO (Climate Action Network)
  • Environmental News Bulletin (IISD)

Who can help me?


General press account: bookings in media for UN agencies apart from UNFCCC: Dan Shepard, Media counter at the COP

Security.Access to the extraterritorial zone will be controlled by the UN.Valid badges with photo and bar codes are necessary to access the Conference Premises (PIF)

This great piece was shared by John Hay Media Relations Officer, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat at the Pre-COP17 media training in Pretoria. Thought to share with fellow journalists who were not at the training.

Remember, a lot will be happening. Pick subjects you are interested in and would benefit you audience and country, then focus on them. Don’t get drowned in all the happenings(I suffered that in COP16), don’t try to cover it all, because you just cannot. You would end up achieving little and feeling extremely frustrated. But most importantly, try to put a human face to your stories. Amplify the voices and concerns of the most affected.

It’s raining right now as I type. So prepare for some rain and plenty of sun too.

Wishing you the best, and please send in your stories to Eco-Nigeria. Would be so useful.

Smileeeeee you’re with Christiana Figueres!!!!!

27 Nov

This would be my 1st blog post in over 2weeks. Been busy preparing for Durban. Eco-Nigeria fans, I sincerely apologize.

I really had to share about my 1st face to face contact with a lady I adore, Christiana Figueres. It was at the showcase  of DNA’s Designated National Authorities Communicators for 2011 and recognition of the  UNFCCC-CDM African Radio contest 2011 winners in Durban. I am one of the top 3 Radio contest winners(big smile). I would share my winning story in a future post.

Today( Nov 27, a day before Cop17 officially kicks off), I had the chance to take a photo with the number one person in the whole climate negotiations, Christiana Figueres. The closest I had been to her was via video conference at a pre-Cop16 media training in October, 2011.

Here is a bit about her, and why I love her.

Christiana Figueres was appointed as the new Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 17 May 2010. The appointment was endorsed by the Bureau of the Convention.

Ms. Figueres has been involved in climate change negotiations since 1995. She was a member of the Costa Rican negotiating team and represented Latin America and the Caribbean on the Executive Board of the Clean Development Mechanism in 2007, before being elected Vice President of the Bureau of the Conference of the Parties 2008-2009.

In 1995 she founded the Center for Sustainable Development of the Americas (CSDA), a non-profit think tank for climate change policy and capacity-building. which she directed until 2003. From 1994-1996, she served as Director of the Technical Secretariat, Renewable Energy in the Americas (REIA).

Ms. Figueres began her life of public service as Minister Counsellor at the Embassy of Costa Rica in Bonn, Germany in 1982. She served as Director of International Cooperation in the Ministry of Planning in Costa Rica (1987-1988), and was then named Chief of Staff to the Minister of Agriculture (1988-90).

Ms. Figueres has served on several boards of non-governmental organizations involved in climate change issues, including the Voluntary Carbon Standard. She is also a widely published author on the design of climate solutions, and has been a frequent advisor to the private sector on how to play a leadership role in mitigation.

Ms. Figueres holds a Masters Degree in Anthropology from the London School of Economics, and a certificate in Organizational Development from Georgetown University. She was born in San José, Costa Rica in 1956 and is married with two children.


Oooopsss………..Shell spilled it again!!!!!

13 Nov

Our oil our pain

Vulnerable women

Shell Petroleum Development Company SPDC , on Saturday November 12, 2011 reported a fresh spill from a key delivery pipeline in Adibawa delivery line southern Nigeria.

A  statement by Shell’s Nigerian joint venture says  it’s spill containment team was dispatched to the site as soon as the report was received and the personnel succeeded in containing the leak.
Shell, which announced a production cut from the same facility last week, said it was investigating the incident to determine the cause and impact.
The delivery line is part of the Okordia-Rumuekpe line, which SPDC shut down following a leak on November 8 and subsequent fire incident. Last week’s incident was blamed on sabotage.
According to SPDC, a  joint investigation visit found that the spill was caused by hacksaw cuts, which isn’t the first hacksaw cut on the Adibawa delivery line this year.
However, the Environmental Rights Action (ERA)/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (FoEN), which visited the site has ruled out sabotage as cause of the spill. ERA/FoEN blamed the spill on equipment failure.

 This new spill would be worsening the plight of host communities who have over the years  had their environment, livelihood and health destroyed  by activities of  RICH oil companies.

Young ones at risk. What a life!!!!

Here's what's left.

Did I plant oil or what?

When men become helpless

We ask that the Nigerian government seriously takes this up, an immediate clean-up be carried out and compensation calculated and dully paid to affected local people.

Through their Eyes

11 Nov

Slowly making my way

Photographs are used in many different capacities and can carry very powerful messages. They also keep alive the memories of yesterday.

A few months ago, I was invited to a photo exhibition titled ”Through their Eyes”.  This was a different kind of exhibition. The beautiful pictures showcased were taken by 7 children between the ages of 6-11 .

Brightly fading

Sun's dew

Each citizen in any particular community has an important role in using their voice to better their community and children are often silent observers. When given a voice, they contribute an invaluable and influential perspective in affecting society and promising a future.

With photography as their voice, the seven “Through Their Eyes” participants give us a glimpse into the society that surrounds them, the beauty that catches their eye, the hopes they hold, the pains they share. Photos of the planet they have met, the nature they desire to preserve and the changes they want to make.

Tortoise trying to hide

Each participant honed in on leadership and observation skills as they practised the following photographic elements: exploring points of interest, filling the frame, experimenting with perspective, using natural light, and the rule of thirds.

 The most applied participant of the project, the best picture of each category the kids were taught, and the best overall picture, among others took home awards.

Things could be better

Relaxing in style

“I thought photography was just pushing a button, now i see it’s hard work”…….. Amira Ribbens- Age 9
“I wanted to quit because at first it wasnt fun, but i’m glad i didnt because i learnt so much, and it was fun after all”…….Ezugo- age 7
 The exhibitors were
1. Kevin- Male
2. Oluchi- Female
3. Ezugo- Male
4. Ekene- Female
5. Anuli- Female
6. Nathan- Male
7. Amira- Female
 A native American proverb says ….. ”We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”.
With the careless manner we exploit nature and its resources, I really hope that in 10-30years to come, these children can make more pictures. Will the snail and tortoise go extinct because of our hostility to mother nature? Will they have more photos of garbage than the beauty of nature and their environment? I can’t help but wonder.
Through Their Eyes: photography workshop and exhibition project was created by Lydia Idakula Sobogun of Gbagyichild Entertainment, Sheila Dykstra and Megan Ribbens of CRWM.