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Life & Culture > Environment
Using integrated model to tackle climate change challenges
By Kayode Aboyeji
August 4, 2012 15:27:40pm GMT
Minister of Environment, Hadiza Ibrahim Mailafia

WorldStage Newsonline-- If current efforts by the Federal Government of Nigeria to tackle the challenges posed by the negative impact of climate change phenomenon is allowed to see the light of the day, the country would soon be on her way to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), national planning and promote sustainable development.

A US-based development experts, Millennium Institute (MI), is helping the government to develop an integrated software model, tagged 'Threshold 21' (T21), that would integrate the three main spheres- economy, social and environmental elements- into a single framework that could be used for long-term projections.

T21 is a dynamic simulation tool that supports comprehensive, integrated long-term national development planning. It supports comparative analysis of different options, and helps users to identify the set of policies that tend to lead towards a desired goal.

Broadly, T21 is an especially useful tool for preparing poverty reduction strategies that emphasises the MDGs and for monitoring of progress towards the MDGs or national goals.

  It is built on the philosophy that national planning is an integrated process, in which planners must consider economic, social and environment variables that influence sustainable development.

The Africa Adaptation Programme (AAP) under the Department of Climate Change, Federal Ministry of Environment with the support of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Nigeria country office are promoting the project.

At a two-day inception training workshop on T21 organised by the duo in the nation's capital, Abuja last week, chairman, Millennium Institute, John Shilling, said both the economy and society depend on the environment to function and develop.

Shilling noted that climate change is a major impact of the economy on the environment such as drought, floods, heat, and sea level rise, among others. These environmental changes, he said, impact back on the society and the economy.

"Nigeria has recognised this and the need to need to incorporate more adaptation measures into its development strategies and take account of the long -term effects of policies. Using our dynamic Threshold 21 model will contribute a great deal to dealing with these issues," he said.

  The MI boss disclosed that, presently, the institute was working with ECOWAS CDP to develop T21 PCMs for all 15 countries and two regional ECOWAS models, adding that the initial focus was on improving cooperation among members, including on infrastructure, energy, trade, migration and poverty reduction, but that more details were being added to the country models.

According to him, T21 PCM had been developed for the country with its local team. "It will be the basis for the T21 Nigeria model dealing with climate change adaptation. T21 deals with the complexity of climate change by integrating environmental, social and economic structures into single framework."

Cathy Tan, also of MI, noted that climate change poses serious threats to sustainable development and achievement of MDGs. She explained that the key findings of IPPC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) was that millions of people globally will be exposed to increased water stress and that access to food in many African countries will be seriously compromised.

Tan said an adaptation measure is therefore necessary for the country. She disclosed that the model is presently being used in Namibia.

Wumi Olayiwola of ECOWAS Commission said the ECOWAS T21 project is a major ECOWAS initiative 2010-2012 for the better understanding of regional integration dynamics in the medium and long term.

Prof. Olukayode Oladipo, one of the Nigeria's international negotiator and facilitator of the two-day workshop which drew participants from the academia, civil society, government agencies, research institutes, media, said the whole essence of the programme was to hear from various stakeholders the critical element that should go into the model.

He said there would be more sectoral analyses of what will go into the model and that it could take up to two years to be developed.

He appealed to the government to take it as a national project, adding that climate change will affect all the sector of the economy, particularly agriculture which contributes about 40 per cent of the Gross Domestic Products.

He said h: "It is important to capture a lot of elements that will go into the model that the country can use in planning."

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