Ogoni oil spill: UNDP promises to support FG on speedy clean-up

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Abuja – The UN Development Programme (UNDP) says it will support the Federal Government in ensuring that clean-up of oil spills in Ogoniland takes place as soon as possible.

UNDP Country Director, Pa-Lamin Beyai told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja that the clean-up would enhance the livelihood of the people in the area.

Beyai commended the Federal Government for taking some measures to implement the environmental remediation in Ogoniland as proposed by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

NAN reports that the UNEP report on Ogoniland was released on Aug. 4, 2011.

“In 2015, agreements were reached at the Ministry of Environment on the implementation of the report and we were involved in the assessment process.

“Beyond that, the livelihood component was supposed to be led by the UNDP.

“It has taken longer than it should for the implementation but we are happy that the government has taken it up and want to implement the report.

“Hopefully, before June, it should be implemented.

“But UNDP will support the government all the way in ensuring that the cleaning up takes place as soon as feasible,’’ he said.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”70560″]

In addition, the country director said that UNDP had been supporting Nigeria in mitigating the impact of climate change and other environmental challenges.

Beyai said the organisation assisted in preparing the Nigerian team for negotiation at the 21st Conference of Parties to Climate Change (COP 21) in Paris in 2015.

“We set up a team that prepared the Nigerian position; we inaugurated the team and gave them funding up to the level of presenting Nigerian position in Paris.

“We did that because Nigeria is a big country, leading other Africa countries to negotiate at COP 21 and we gave the assistance to give the team importance and credibility.’’

The Country Director said that UNDP would continue to support Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Environment to build the capacity of its personnel on climate change issues.

According to him, what we do is to build the capability of the staff of the ministry to participate in international fora such as COP 21.

“We are changing the model now; we will be focusing on the MDAs that are ready to put in some resources for reasons of sustainability.

“We cannot be giving all the time, even if we want, our financial situation may not allow it.

“So, our model in 2016, henceforth is that you contribute, we contribute because we don’t implement, we only monitor implementation and we give it to you to implement and monitor result,’’ he said.

The country director said that the new model would enhance effective collaboration and sustainable development.

“We have already written to states; it is only states that are ready to contribute to our pot that we will work with because people have to own development.

“We need to change the model of our intervention which, we have almost changed; all those we work with will be obliged to put something – counterpart,’’ he added. (NAN)