In its bid to prevent the kind of flood recorded in most parts of the country last year and its adverse loss, the Federal Government on Friday inaugurated an inter-ministerial committee saddled with the responsibility of producing a national framework for the application of climate services.
The committee headed by the Minister of National Planning, Dr. Shamshudeen Usman, has Ministers of Aviation; Agriculture and Rural Development; Environment, Water Resources, Health, Works, Science and Technology as well as Transport as members, while the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation will provide the secretariat.
While inaugurating the committee on behalf of the government, Vice President Namadi Sambo said the panel was constituted by President Goodluck Jonathan based on the early weather warning memorandum premised on last year’s rainy season’s flood disaster that has caused great losses to the nation as presented to the President by the Minister of Aviation, Stella, Oduah.
He said, “The warning is timely considering the observable effects of global climate change and its resultant consequences in the forms of rise in sea level, shift in rainfall patterns and extreme weather conditions resulting in hazards such as floods and droughts.
“It therefore becomes imperative for us to develop a national framework for application of climate services which could deliver several benefits.”
Sambo listed the benefits inherent in such national framework to include improved crop yield/enhancement of national food security; reduction in economic losses resulting from destruction of roads and other infrastructure; ensuring that gains already recorded in the provision of infrastructure are not reversed by severe weather events; reduction of weather/climate related health hazards; and reduction of loss of life and vulnerability of the population to disaster risks associated with extreme weather.
He asked the committee to take advantage of the World Meteorological Organisation’s Global Framework for Climate Services which was adopted by the organisation in 2012 with recommendations and guidelines for developing and implementing the frameworks for climate services at regional and national levels.
The Vice President said he had invited the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency Nigeria to participate and assist the committee in that direction.
He said it was the President’s desire that the assignment and other related issues were adequately tackled, urging them to pursue the assignment with vigour and all the seriousness it deserves for its timely completion.
He directed that their report should include short, medium and long term actions for implementation.
In his short remarks, Usman described the setting up of the committee as timely, saying that significance of environment is becoming more apparent.