Nigeria to support small island states, says Tinubu


President Bola Tinubu has said Nigeria is committed to contributing to global efforts aimed at mitigating climate impacts and promoting sustainable development in Small Island Developing States. 

Tinubu said this at the ongoing Fourth Nations International Conference on SIDS in Antigua and Barbuda, with the theme, ‘Charting the course toward resilient prosperity.’

SIDS is a distinct group of 39 States and 18 Associate Members of United Nations regional commissions that face unique social, economic, and environmental vulnerabilities. 

Tinubu’s speech made available to our correspondent on Thursday noted that SIDS are at the frontline of the global environmental crisis due to climate change and other factors such as pollution and loss of biodiversity. 

The President, who was represented by the Minister of Environment, Balarabe Lawal, at the conference, said despite contributing less than one percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, these nations suffer disproportionately from the impacts of climate change resulting in rising sea levels, increased frequency of extreme weather events, and the degradation of marine ecosystems. 

“These factors pose existential threats to the livelihoods and cultures of millions of people in these regions. Innovative adaptation strategies, as well as robust international support and partnerships, are essential to enhance and build resilience in these vulnerable islands. 

“Nigeria stands in solidarity with SIDS and is committed to contributing to global efforts aimed at mitigating climate impacts and promoting sustainable development. Despite these challenges faced by SIDS, they also have opportunities to move towards a green economy, they possess both unexploited terrestrial and oceanic natural resources such as fish stocks, minerals, potential pharmaceutical products, renewable energy such as wind, sun, ocean, wave, hydro and geothermal. 

“If harnessed properly, SIDS have the potentials to take a lead in defining models of sustainability and human well-being whilst moving towards a green economy. Nigerian government addressed environmental issues such as pollution and flooding in our major island in Lagos state by establishing and empowering government ministries and agencies that are related to the environment to implement robust waste management programmes.”Related News

He stated that the challenges faced by SIDS are a reflection of broader global issues that require collective action.

“By supporting SIDS, we are also advancing the broader agenda of sustainable development and environmental stewardship. We must collaborate with SIDS and prioritise investments in climate resilience infrastructure which includes building sea defences, developing early warning systems, and implementing sustainable land and water management practices. 

“Collaboration with international financial institutions and the private sector is essential to mobilise the necessary resources. The economic vulnerabilities of SIDS are exacerbated by their heavy reliance on tourism and external markets. Diversifying their economies through the promotion of sustainable industries, such as renewable energy, fisheries, and agriculture, can create more resilient economic structures.

“Access to concessional financing is critical for SIDS to address their development challenges. We must advocate for tailored financial mechanisms that recognise the unique circumstances of SIDS and provide them with the fiscal space needed to invest in sustainable development and create a more climate resilient environment.”

Tinubu called for strengthening regional cooperation among SIDS and fostering partnerships with larger economies in driving innovative solutions and sharing best practices. 

He added, “Nigeria is committed to working with SIDS and other nations to facilitate knowledge exchange and capacity-building initiatives.

“In conclusion, let us reaffirm our commitment to the principles of equity, justice, and shared prosperity. The Lands, Water, and Air all belong to humanity, and together, we can chart a course toward a more resilient and sustainable environment for our future and generations to come.”

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