FG will keep its climate change commitments – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the Federal Government will keep its climate change commitments and also focus on doing it in a way that works best for the needs of the Nigerian people.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, said in a statement on Friday in Abuja, that the vice president made the pledge when he received a delegation from the World Bank at the Presidential Villa.

The delegation was led by its Managing Director of Development Policy and Partnerships, Dr Mari Pangestu, as well as its Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri.

Also on Friday, the vice president interacted with officials of the International Monetary Fund on the IMF Article IV bilateral consultations.

The vice president has been advocating for a just transition to global net-zero emissions.

He had particularly called on multilateral agencies, and Western countries to stop the planned defunding of fossil fuels/gas projects in developing countries as part of the energy transition plan towards the global net-zero target by 2050.

At both meetings with the World Bank managing director and IMF officials, Osinbajo said Nigeria remained committed to helping in reducing global greenhouse emissions, even as the needs of Nigeria and other developing countries should also be taken into account.

“I think it is very important, at least this is what we are trying to do, to keep our sights on what would work for the majority of our people.

“The truth, of course, is that we have fossil fuel resources, we have all of that, but we have energy issues, distribution and quality of access to energy, as well as clean energy.

“So, those are the issues; access to energy and education, then renewable energy, and how to be able to move quickly enough in terms of putting renewable energy in place,” he said.

The vice president also highlighted funding challenges for developing countries in its response to climate change and preparation for adaptation, alongside other implications of the Paris Agreement.

As part of that agreement, a 100 billion dollars per year was pledged by the wealthier economies to help developing economies to respond to the challenges of climate change and support mitigation and adaptation.

In her remarks, Pangestu, expressed her delight to visit Nigeria, saying it was her first country mission since assuming her current position in March.

She said that following COP26, the global body was considering ways to address both development and climate crisis in developing countries.

The World Bank director noted that the development crisis had been heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The way we are trying to approach it is the Green, Resilient, and Inclusive recovery and growth strategy which must start with developing countries,” she said.

Commending Nigeria’s energy reforms, Pangestu said that the World Bank would explore ways to ensure developing countries attracted the needed financing so as to achieve its climate and development objectives.

During the interaction with IMF which was virtual, the vice president reaffirmed Nigeria’s position on climate change.

He added however, that no developed economy grew its industrial base on renewable energy alone and so developing economies should not be asked to do that.

The IMF Article IV Consultation Mission team was led by Ms Jesmin Rahman, Mission Chief for Nigeria at IMF.

The consultations based on the IMF’s Articles of Agreement involves bilateral discussions between a member-country and the IMF.

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