President Muhammadu Buhari addressed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-22) in Marrakech, Morocco on Tuesday.

In his speech delivered during the opening plenary session, Mr. Buhari pledged that Nigeria would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by the year 2030. Towards this end, the president also revealed plans to issue green bonds in order to raise climate funds.

These initiatives are part of Nigeria’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC). Each country that signed the Paris Agreement, including Nigeria, put forward INDCs that outline the actions the country plans to take in order to fight climate change.

“We have reflected our determination for green growth in my country’s ambitious Intended Nationally Determined Contribution,” Mr. Buhari said. “This is one of Africa’s most ambitious Intended Nationally Determined Contributions – covering all emissions from all parts of the economy.”

The president assured conference attendees that Nigeria would implement policies that promote sustainable economic growth.

“We are already making far-reaching changes in all sectors of our economy, including through substantially increasing the use of climate smart agriculture and diversification of our energy mix through renewable and efficient gas power,” Mr. Buhari said.

Mr. Buhari also took the opportunity to call international attention to two Nigerian regions that have been environmentally devastated in recent years: Ogoniland and the Lake Chad Basin.

He said that Nigeria is implementing a cleanup of Ogoniland, warning, “If not addressed by 2050, the human and financial cost would be colossal.” It would be recalled that Ogoniland, an area in the oil-rich Niger Delta, has been afflicted by oil spills. The U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) has pledged to assist Nigeria in the cleanup, but said it would take at least 30 years to complete.

Speaking about the Lake Chad Basin, Mr. Buhari said environmental degradation of the area has bred insecurity in the region.

“The Lake Chad Basin, for example, has shrunk to a mere 10 percent of its original size, and this has seriously affected the livelihood of over five million people and contributed to the growth of insecurity in the region, including the emergence of Boko Haram as a terrorist group,” he said.

“Hence the need to resuscitate Lake Chad. In this regard, I seize this opportunity to express gratitude and appreciation to those who have responded to our call and to encourage other well-meaning partners to join in our efforts to revive the Lake Chad Basin,” Mr. Buhari concluded.

On Wednesday, the president attended the Africa Action Summit, hosted by King Mohammed VI of Morocco.

President Buhari addressing climate change conference in Morocco

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