Climate change: WASCAL canvasses capacity building

Okechukwu Nnodim

The West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adaptive Land Use has called for adequate improvement in capacity building in order to effectively manage climate change and its impacts in Nigeria.

According to the WASCAL, the negative impact of climate change is currently being felt in virtually all sectors of the Nigerian economy as well as on the livelihoods of citizens in the country, a situation that should be managed properly to avoid further deterioration of the environment.

Speaking on the sidelines of a one-day stakeholders’ workshop on climate change research agenda in Abuja, the Director, West African Climate System, Federal University of Technology, Akure, Prof. Kehinde Ogunjobi, said if Nigeria failed to enhance human capacity in managing climate change, the effect of weather variation would be adversely enormous on the Nigerian economy.

He said, “What we are here to do is to see the effect of climate change on our society and this of course, is enormous. So, if we fail to train or build capacity in the area of climate change, then one can imagine the enormous implication, which this will have on not just our environment, but on our larger economy.

“For example, there were issues of flooding in 2012 and more than 18 states were overwhelmed by flood. There is also desertification, there is drought and there is rise in global temperature as well. So, if we don’t develop capacity for people to give what we call the early warning signs, one cannot imagine the extent of problem that this could create for our people and our overall economy.”

Giving further explanations on the significance of the workshop, the Director, Masters Research Programme on Climate Change and Adaptive Land Use, Federal University of Technology, Minna, Dr. Appollonia Okhimamhe, said the WASCAL programme would proffer solutions to reducing climate change impact.

She said, “We have said so much about climate change and its impact is felt in almost all sectors of the economy, whether agriculture, transportation, mining, etc.

Speaking on the economic significance of this workshop, if each year we record shortfalls in agricultural productivity, what do you think will happen? There’ll be food scarcity and our economy will be affected.

“So if we have critical information on how to prevent that, I think we would have assisted ourselves a great deal and that is where the WASCAL comes in. We are trying to close up the critical gap on climate change in Africa in order to effectively mitigate it severe impact on human existence, particularly on the West African sub-region.”