With less than a month to end his tenure, Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, SAN, made a final appearance as Chief host at this year’s edition of the Lagos State Climate Change summit organized by the state’s Ministry of the Environment between 21 -23rd April at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos.
According to Head of Summit Planning Committee and Commissioner for the Environment, Hon. Tunji Bello, this year’s summit gives an opportunity by the state and all stakeholders to take stock of strides in Climate Change programme communication and implementation, hence, the theme: ‘7 years of Climatic Change Governance in Lagos State: Celebrating success stories, reviewing challenges.’
In his keynote address, governor Fashola said since 2009 the climate change summit has been a principal vehicle for attracting required attention to the environmental challenges of our time, which is global warming, attendant climate change and related environmental concerns.
In his words, “The last seven years has been years of knowledge sharing, best practices adoption and deliberate policy formulation towards ensuring a livable environment for the people of Lagos. Our dream is a Lagos free from Air, Water and Land pollution, and it was this dream that spurred us when we came on board in 2007 to create the state environmental renewal and greening programmes.” He said.
Sighting global climate change mitigation effort, the outgoing governor said world economy largely relies on manufacturing techniques that thrive on releasing greenhouse gases at almost every stage of production, transportation, storage, delivery as well as disposal.
He said in today’s global economy, Climate Change creates uncertainty and resulting risk investments and as such his administration as part of strategies to mitigate the effects has put in place policies and programmes specifically targeted at attaining a sustainable environment in the state.
Such programmes he said, includes, Annual Tree Planting, Climate Change Clubs in Public Schools, Advocacy programmes for different groups, improved waste management and transportation, energy conservation options, shoreline protection, drainage construction and dredging amongst others.
Speaking on present challenges, Governor Babtunde Fashola explained that the state is reviewing existing urban Plans and physical and the Lagos Building codes initiative, in a bid to promote climate resilient and eco-friendly housing.
“We have adopted several practical mitigation and adaptation measures to deal with climate change phenomenon. State owned services such as the Lagos State Emergency (LASEMA), The Fire Service, Lagos State Ambulance Service (LASAMBUS), the Lagos State Building Control Agency and other agencies have been restructured empowered to ensure speedy response in the advent of disasters that can occur due to climate change.”
He called the attention of participants to his administrative effort at reducing carbon emission through decommissioning of hundreds of diesel generators and creation of the Lagos Independent Power Project, Akute Independent Power Project and the Alausa Independent Power Project which provides steady and gas fired energy.
The State governor seized the opportunity to thank Lagosians for the opportunity to serve. He said, “We have set our hands on the plough and there’s no looking back. We must always remember that as long as the climate change scourge is human induced, it can be solved by humans. With the coming of a new administration, I have no doubt that they will continue from where we stopped to deliver the best and a more sustainable future for us all.” He concluded.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Lagos State Commissioner for the Environment, Hon. Tunji Bello, said the summit is worth celebrating judging from the journey so far and the visionary leadership of Governor Raji Fashola.
He acknowledged the support of all stakeholders over the years including the British High Commissioner, Representatives of the C40 Cities, Canadian and German Government, United Nations Development Programmes, Department for International Development (UK DFID) as well as resource persons from Nigeria and other parts of the world.
The summit which ran for 3 days was well attended by several Commissioners, top officials of the state ministries, Academicians, Civil Society groups, NGOs, Students and members of the diplomatic corps.