Lagos is the only state in Nigeria to have developed and launched any initiatives relating to the implementation of its Climate Action Plan in Nigeria. The Lagos Climate Action Plan presently has 26 initiatives focused on adaptation and mitigation across the different sectors toward a sustainable low-carbon economy. Even though details of implementation remain vague with figures, the effort of Lagos State to be at this level with the Climate Action Plan is an important step that other Nigerian states could emulate in helping the country advance projects targeted at climate change impact.
What is the Climate Action Plan (CAP)?
In June 2021, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos, launched the "Climate Action Plan 2020-2025" at the 8th Lagos State International Climate Change Summit, which focused on reducing emissions in the energy, transport, and waste management sectors. The Climate Action Plan was focused on addressing the impacts of climate change in the state, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing resilience to the impacts of climate change, such as sea level rise, coastal erosion, and extreme weather events.
One key aspect of the plan is to increase the use of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, and decrease the state's dependence on fossil fuels. The government also aims to improve energy efficiency in buildings and transportation and to promote sustainable urban development. The plan also includes measures to protect and preserve the state's natural resources, such as mangrove forests and wetlands, which provide important ecosystem services and act as buffers against the impacts of climate change. The Lagos State Government has also set a target to increase the tree cover in the state by 10% by 2022, through the planting of trees on government land and encouraging private individuals and organizations to do the same. The government has also started a campaign to reduce the use of plastic bags, as plastic pollution is a serious problem in the state, which can be exacerbated by climate change.
In order to ensure the success of the plan, the government is working closely with local communities, NGOs, and private sector partners to raise awareness and build capacity for climate action. It is also working with other state governments in Nigeria, as well as national and international organizations, to coordinate efforts to address climate change. The Climate Action Plan of the Lagos State Government is a step in the right direction towards reducing the state's carbon footprint and building resilience to the impacts of climate change. It is important for the government to continue to monitor and evaluate the progress of the plan and make adjustments as necessary to ensure that it is achieving its intended goals.
Challenges of Implementation and The Way Forward
In 2022, Lagos State hosted the 9th Climate Change Summit to "advocate for higher investment by everyone in order to realize the Climate Action Plan." The Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, who represented the Governor, praised the success of implementing the plan so far with adaptation projects, the improvement of waterways to increase the use of water transportation and reduce the number of cars on the road, and other project partnerships.
In the words of Dr. Hamzat, "In just a year, the Lagos Climate Action Plan has started to reap great rewards. An example of such is the recently awarded grant to the Lagos State Waterways Authority to improve the state’s ferry services by providing a multi-model transport network for Lagos, thereby reducing commuters and greenhouse gas emissions associated with on-road transportation”.
However, there are still some challenges to implementing the plan fully, which includes financial investments across sectors as mentioned by the Deputy Governor.
“We are in constant discussion with our development partners and donor organizations to find solutions and ways to better adapt to climate impacts, especially as it affects women, children and people with disabilities in terms of provision of water, food security, energy and healthcare services”.
The State Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tunji Bello, mentioned that the state has "signed a £15 million UKAID Climate Action Implementation Programme, which will support cities to accelerate the implementation of their Climate Action Plans (CAPs)" but would further seek partnership at last November's Conference of Parties (COP 27), held in Egypt. At the time of writing this article, the government website remains the only source of information for trailing CAP, as there is no other information available about the progress of CAP after COP27, but it would be interesting to see how far this goes with measurable impact in the lives of Lagos and how it shapes the coastal city of Lagos.
It's the right step in the right direction. Lagos is not an isolated island. Neighboring and coastal states must be encouraged financially and otherwise to be part of this action to achieve the desired goal. Lagos can now concentrate on expanding marine transport (with reduced motor transport) and sanitizing the terrestrial and aquatic environments of the state. The outcomes of these will be easily noticed. But for maximum impact, all coastal and adjoining states must join Lagos in this project. In addition to the immediate west of Lagos, there are Benin and Togo, and it is in the interest of Lagos and, in fact, Nigeria that such neighbors should be carried along to have sustained impacts.
This article was originally written in January 2023.