Controversy over unnecessary delegation at COP 28 -FG

by MMC
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The Federal Government says the debate raging on social media over the size of the Nigerian delegation to the COP 28 United Nations Climate Summit in Dubai is unnecessary and an unnecessary distraction.

The Federal Government disclosed this in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Tope Ajayi.

The government said the name of the summit alone shows that the Nigerian delegation is not from the government but from many interested parties, including civil society organizations, ethnic nationalities, the organized private sector and wealthy individuals, including including those involved in climate promotion projects. mitigation of change.

According to him, COP 28 means Convention of the Parties, adding that registration for the convention does not mean physical presence nor that a delegate coming from Nigeria is sponsored by the government.

Read the full statement below…

Nigeria at COP28: separating fact from fiction

By Temitope Ajayi

The number of delegates from Nigeria attending the ongoing Dubai Climate Summit, otherwise known as COP28, has generated much controversy and heated conversations on social media in the last 24 hours. It is important to set the record straight and provide some clarity. For starters, the Summit is labeled COP, which stands for Convention of the Parties. The ongoing summit in Dubai, which brings together more than 97,000 delegates from more than 100 countries around the world, is the 28th in the series since the issue of climate change and climate action took prominence in the global affairs. COP27 took place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt last year.

When the world comes together to take action toward a common goal and propose collective solutions to a nagging global problem, stakeholders become involved from governments, the private sector, civil society, the media and multilateral institutions. The people who come together to advance their different agendas and interests with governments, businesses, and civil society are the parties to the convention who represent various shades of opinion and who push for various mitigation measures.

In Nigeria, as in many other countries, interested parties including federal and subnational government officials, business leaders, environmentalists, climate activists and journalists are present in Dubai. Also involved are government agencies such as NNPC and its subsidiaries, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, NIMASA and NDDC. Also represented are many youth organizations from Nigeria, particularly from the Northern and Niger Delta regions, whose lives and livelihoods are most affected by desert encroachment and hydrocarbon-related activities. Chairman of the Ijaw Youth Council, Jonathan Lokpobiri, is leading a pan-Ijaw delegation of over 15 people registered as parties from Nigeria. Nigeria’s delegates also include more than 20 journalists from various media outlets.

Their participation is very important. It’s not for a jamboree because it is mischievously represented on social media.

It is important to clarify here that delegates from all countries, whether from government, private sector, media or civil society groups, attend COP summits and conferences as parties and that the number of participants is recorded in relation to their country of origin. This does not mean that they are government sponsored or funded. It should also be said that the fact that people have registered to attend a conference does not mean that all registered people are physically present.

As Africa’s largest country, largest economy and most engaged in climate action as a country with a huge extractive economy, it stands to reason that delegates from Nigeria will outnumber any other African country.

Nigeria’s delegates include UBA President Tony Elumelu, BUA Group Chairman Abdul Samad Rabiu and other billionaires whose companies promote sustainability and climate actions through their philanthropies. These businessmen and women and their collaborators who came with them to promote their own business interests are among the 1,411 delegates from Nigeria. Their trip to Dubai is not funded by the federal government.

The UN climate summit, by its very nature, attracts big names from around the world – statesmen and women, politicians, legislators, business giants, journalists and activists, etc. who promote a major global agenda. So, people attend the summit for many reasons. And since the climate problem is the biggest global problem at the moment, it is no surprise that more than 97,000 people, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, King Charles of the United Kingdom, Prime Minister of the Netherlands , Mark Rutte, US Vice President Kamala Harris, Special Envoy on Climate Change and former Secretary of State, John Kerry, President Bola Tinubu, Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, President of the World Bank, Ajay Banga, President of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, Director General of the World Trade Organization, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, former US vice president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate , Al Gore, and nearly 100 heads of state and government converged on Dubai for COP28. This is the first of its kind in the history of the summit due to the importance of climate change to global well-being.

After the opening and national declarations of heads of state which began on November 30 at the opening of the summit and until Saturday December 2, 2023, the real work of COP28 which is the technical sessions and negotiations , financing, etc. will start from Monday December 2. From December 4 to 12, agreements will be reached on numerous proposals for review and ratification by the parties.

Those who have sufficient understanding and knowledge about climate issues know that issues related to the subject have layers and a multiplicity of factors that require experts from various fields. Technical sessions are planned on financing climate actions at subnational, regional and local levels. Nigeria’s state governors, such as Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun and Umo Eno of Akwa-Ibom, have been busy with their officials at COP28, making presentations, speaking during expert sessions and presenting some of their sustainable development projects to development partners and investors.

Multi-faceted players from different countries, including Nigeria, are on the ground in Dubai because they do not want decisions that will affect them to be made without advancing their own agenda. This is why there are more than 3,000 delegates from China and Brazil respectively. China is one of the biggest polluters in the world and Brazil is at the center of the global climate debate with its Amazon rainforest. These two countries know that important decisions that will affect them will be made and they must do everything to be fully on the ground and ensure that they are fully represented by their best minds at all levels of discussion and negotiation.

Like former President Muhammadu Buhari and other African leaders who demanded a fair deal and climate justice for Africa at previous UN climate summits, President Tinubu is leading the charge to COP28 on behalf of Nigeria and the rest of the continent, demanding from the West that any climate change decision and action must be fair and just for Africa and Nigeria in particular, especially in the energy transition debate . President Tinubu has unequivocally expressed his position that Africa, which is grappling with issues of poverty, security and struggling to provide education and health care to its people, cannot be asked to abandoning its main source of income, which comes mainly from extractive industries, without the West providing the necessary support. financing and investment in alternative and clean energy sources. President Tinubu and other officials of the Federal Government delegation are in Dubai on serious business and not a jamboree. Our president has been busy representing our country well. Since his arrival in Dubai on Thursday morning, President Tinubu has spent no less than 18 hours a day attending very important sessions, pushing our national agenda while holding bilateral and business meetings on the sidelines.

-Ajayi is Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity

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