From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has lamented the adverse effects of climate change across the world, particularly in the Lake Chad Basin.
President Buhari spoke at the high-level meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council (AU-PSC) on securing a sustainable peace in Africa.
The President said across the world, climate change has contributed to rising insurgency and armed conflict, partly in response to emerging challenges, with a resultant displacement of persons and livelihood.
The President, who was represented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, stated that the situation in the Lake Chad Basin was a notable example of the risk and effects associated with climate change.
President Buhari added that while climate change was not often considered the primary cause of conflict, its complexities have demonstrated that it could easily act as a risk multiplier, exacerbating underlying vulnerabilities and compounding existing grievances.
He recalled a recent statement by the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres while addressing the United Nations Security Council when he said: ‘Where climate change dries up rivers, reduces harvests, destroys critical infrastructure, and displaces communities, it exacerbates the risks of instability and conflict.’
The President hailed the delegation of the Republic of Kenya, particularly, President Uhuru Kenyatta, for convening the very important meeting.
‘Indeed, the need to secure sustainable peace in Africa cannot be overemphasised. Paramount to sustainable peace is sustainable development and vice versa. Notwithstanding this realization, however, climate change has continued to retard development across the board, with dwindling opportunities for sustainable peace. Undoubtedly, the subject of climate change, vis-a-vis its effect on sustainable peace, has continued to dominate public space and discourse in recent years, in view of its ravaging impact in our world today. The effects are widely noticeable as it increasingly extends beyond the environmental sphere into the social, political and security realm.
‘Across the world today, climate change has contributed to rising insurgency and armed conflict, partly in response to emerging challenges, with a resultant displacement of persons and livelihood. The situation in the Lake Chad Basin is a notable example of the risk and effects associated with climate change. This Council may recall that, following climate disruptions in the region, with its socio-economic and security effects on the people, the Governments of the Lake Chad Basin (LCB) countries convened in Nigeria and issued the Abuja Declaration to raise global awareness of the dramatic shrinkage of Lake Chad and the impact on sustainable livelihoods, security and development efforts in the region,’ Mr Buhari stated.
The President further said that while it was imperative for the AU-PSC to continue to highlight the challenges of the debilitating effects, particularly the pervasive adverse effects of climate change on lives, it was also more important to ensure that bold initiatives were mapped out to broadly mitigate such effects.
‘Our successes in this realm will ensure that succeeding generations of Africans are bequeathed the right legacy in the African space. It is for this reason that Nigeria urges this meeting to renew calls for concerted action towards addressing the causes and effects of climate change in the world especially on the continent of Africa.
‘In this regard, the recharging of Lake Chad has become imperative, as this would contribute to addressing the root causes of conflict and insecurity in the region. One way of achieving this is by channelling the waters from the Congo Basin, in addition to other noble initiatives in this regard. It is only when climate change and its adverse effects on Africa is addressed that we can truly hope to achieve sustainable peace and development on our continent,’ Mr Buhari also said.