Not long ago, Nigerian President Buhari signed the Paris Agreement at the 71st UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, and promised to ratify it before COPP 22 in November 2016. In keeping with the process for the Agreement where countries declare their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), Buhari committed Nigeria to reducing “Green House Gas Emissions unconditionally by 20% and conditionally by 45%”. It was a monumental affair to be sure. And I was glad to see that this presidential backing was made even more concrete as Nigeria and the UNEP collaborated to host an UNGA side event on Taking Climate Action for Sustainable Development!

Still, you can agree that this is easier said than done. It’s not impossible though, but Nigeria as a whole will have to do what it has always struggled to do right…implement adequately! So I’ve put down some short thoughts on how we, as a nation, can approach implementation towards achieving this goal!

A Committee and Project Management Office

We first need to identify all the stakeholders and coordinate their offices and efforts. This can be done through an implementation committee made up of representatives of key stakeholders. The committee will be held responsible for reaching our climate change goal and will report progress and challenges directly to the presidency on an agreed regular basis. The committee should have a dedicated and experience Project Management Office that’s charged with coordinating and managing efforts, communication and resources.

National Baseline

Conduct a national baseline measurement of current annual GHG emissions, because we can’t analyze what we don’t measure. And we won’t know whether we are meeting our committed target unless we know where we are starting from. But determining our current national GHG emissions won’t be easy, and we will need the collective efforts of several stakeholders, and a strong legal backing for them the collect or provide these baseline measurements.

Study Tour

There’s really no need for Nigeria to reinvent the wheel to achieve this goal – there’s no time for that. We just need to adapt. Other nations and cities are managing to achieve zero emissions already…we’re looking at you Scandinavia. And though we can’t possible copy and paste, …cause cultures, we can build case studies of what and how things have worked, and where we can adapt the same to allow it work for us in particular.

Integrated Strategy

The baseline, study tour, existing climate change documentation and regulations, and other necessary research should help for a strategy and detailed implementation plan that would assure us of at least 20% reduction by 2030. These two documents should guide all further actions on climate change…and all the existing climate change strategies should be amended in line with this strategy and implementation plan to ensure alignment and integration of actions by different stakeholders

Enabling Policies

We can’t do much if the right policies and regulations aren’t in place to further the actions of the committee and project management team. It is absolutely necessary that they have the power and authority to get things done, and that both public and private organizations are geared towards low carbon decisions.

Leverage Technology

With such a large number of stakeholders that absolutely have to be involved in every step of the process outlined above, it is essential that coordination and communication be seamless. And this can only be achieved if the implementation committee and project management team leverage technology to get everyone together, ensure all views are taken into account, communication is efficiently and correctly disseminated, actionable steps and responsibilities are tracked, etc.

And last but not least, implement, implement, implement.

This process may not be exhaustive, and is certainly high level, but it’s a start. We have to be methodological and systematic if we really mean to make good on our commitments. All we need is the will of the presidency. And all signs point to that will being right there.