|Wikileaks:||View 01ABUJA2445 at Wikileaks.org|
|Tags:||SENV EAID NI|
|Redacted:||This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 002445 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: SENV, EAID, NI SUBJECT: NIGERIA: PRIORITIES FOR THE ENVIRONMENT REF: STATE 140035 1. In response to Reftel information request, the USG does not currently have an environmental program in Nigeria, although USD 2 million has now been identified for an environmental program. USAID/Nigeria ha prepared a scope of work for an overall assessment of the environment in Nigeria. The assessment team, comprised of USAID/Global officers and private consultants, will likely be on the ground in November 2001 with the report completed by February 2002. The Mission believes that this assessment will identify many opportunities for U.S. assistance to Nigeria in confronting environmental problems. Per reftel,s requests, the Mission,s preliminary thoughts on priority areas for environmental assistance are described here. 2. Other international donors active in the environment in Nigeria include the European Union, World Bank, UNDP, NORAD and DFID. There are also numerous local Non-Government Organizations predominantly active in oil pollution mitigation in the Niger Delta. ---------------------- Oil Pollution ---------------------- 3. Nigeria derives 90 percent of its foreign exchange earnings and 80 percent of government revenues from oil exports. The dominance of oil production in the economy has lessened the focus on environmental degradation resulting from oil sector activities. But this degradation is great. Oil spills occur almost weekly in the Delta, caused primarily by smugglers and local communities who break into the pipeline network to steal oil. Moreover, the dredging of canals to transport oil on barges to the Atlantic has expanded the reach of oil spills, widening their area of effect. These canals have also allowed salt water from the Atlantic to encroach inland, destroying freshwater animal and plant life. The impact of oil sector activities on coastal areas is severe. 4. The GON allocated N1.7 billion (roughly USD 14 million) in both recurrent and capital expenditures to the Federal Ministry of Environment in FY2001. This allocation represents only .2 percent of the total federal budget of N894 billion (roughly USD 7.5 billion). However, it appears that the GON is increasing its focus on environmental degradation, particularly in the area of oil pollution. The National Assembly, with support from the Federal Ministries of Environment, Health, and Transport, held an Oil Pollution Management Conference in August to raise the awareness of environmental problems in the Niger Delta and to harmonize the nation,s laws and regulations on oil pollution and its mitigation. 5. The USG is also sponsoring several ad hoc activities targeting specific energy/oil sector environmental problems. First, USG agencies have identified USD 500,000 to be targeted for pipeline safety and security. Other activities planned on an ad hoc basis include a Workshop on Removing Lead from Gasoline for sometime this fall and an Oil Spill Contingency Planning Workshop sponsored by the DOE/USAID in January 2002. 6. Another important oil-related issue is gas flaring, which has contributed to acid rain and has had tremendous negative impacts on agriculture and health in the Niger Delta. The Canadian mission in Nigeria is providing assistance to the GON that helped lead the government to the decision to eradicate gas flaring by 2008. Three Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) projects have been initiated in the South to utilize flared gas as well as the West Africa Gas Pipeline (WAGP) project. ----------------- Renewable Energy ----------------- 7. Solar and hydroelectric power are two potential renewable energy sources in Nigeria. Currently, renewable energies are primarily used for water pumps and irrigation, but their uses could be even more widespread. Some of the existing hydro facilities are currently undergoing repair, and there are a number of additional sites and existing dams that have been surveyed as possible future hydro-electric power projects, but there are no immediate plans for development. Through the Department of Energy and USAID, the U.S. Mission in Nigeria has a resident energy advisor and a renewable energy program. This program aims to identify and remove existing obstacles to creating a commercially viable renewable energy industry in Nigeria. Two workshops on renewable energy are taking place in 2001 (one occurred in March and the other in October), and a pilot solar power project will be initiated in Jigawa State. The focus of the November workshop will be to draft a strategy for developing a commercially viable renewable energy industry in Nigeria. There are currently 37 companies selling solar PV equipment in Nigeria, but there are at present no fabricators or manufacturers of solar equipment in the country. The workshop will identify barriers to the commercialization of renewable energy, such as the high tariffs on PV panels and other renewable energy components and subsidized fuel and energy prices. ---------------------------------- Climate Change and Desertification ---------------------------------- 8. While not fully quantified, desertification is one of the most pressing environmental problems in Nigeria. It is estimated that the country is losing approximately 351,000 hectares of landmass to desert conditions annually. Population pressure, compounded by the influx of migrants from neighboring countries, and the grazing of live stock and razing of all available wood is increasing the rate of land loss. Few alternative energy supplies are available and no programs exist to provide these marginal populations with power or gas for cooking. Nigeria does have a few federally-funded research centers that have developed energy efficient cook stoves and solar powered ovens, but these new technologies have not been distributed or effectively marketed in the North. Desertification in the north is also aggravated by forest depletion in the middle and southern regions of the country. A long tradition of paper-making and furniture building in these areas has led to a serious depletion of forested areas. Nigeria is one of 50 participating countries within the UNFCC identifying sources of greenhouse gasses and encouraging transfers of clean technologies to developing countries. A three day National Workshop on the Clean Development Mechanism was held in Abuja during the week of September 10-14. -------------------------------- Urban Areas and Waste Management -------------------------------- 9. Urban growth in Lagos is expected to lead to an environmental disaster within the next 5-10 years. Exponential population growth and the fact that much of Lagos, located on islands, is sinking into the Atlantic because of erosion and rising waters will need to be addressed. 10. Nigeria has substantial environmental pollution problems resulting from industrial effluents, agricultural chemicals and domestic sewage and waste. In addition to untreated sewage pollution, pollution from textile factories and tanneries is commonly dumped in nearby rivers. Lagos is the only city in Nigeria that maintains a sewage treatment facility, but even that is inadequate to keep up with the growing population. The Federal Ministry of Environment has commissioned assessments to be undertaken in 12 urban areas (Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano, Kaduna, Ibadan, Maiduguri, Yola, Abeokute, Onitsha, Jos and Uyo Ilorin) to design and assess the feasibility of community-based waste management systems. A pilot project for Community Waste Minimization through source reduction, reuse, and recycling has been initiated in a village suburb of Abuja. Also, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency recently signed a grant agreement with the Imo-Abia Waste Management Commission to conduct a feasibility study on a regional waste management system. ------------------------------------ Biodiversity and Wildlife Management ------------------------------------ 11. The continued loss of Nigeria's tropical forests and the continued popularity and economic necessity of "bushmeat" as a staple in people's diets have taken their toll on the country's biodiversity resources. In 1992, forests accounted for only 9.61 percent of the total land area. Nigeria has a diverse collection of flora and fauna, including 274 species of mammals, 830 species of birds and 5,081 plant species. Out of the animal species, .14 percent are threatened and .22 percent are endangered. Of the mammals, two primates are endangered: the white-throated guenon and Sclater's guenon. Anti-poaching laws exist, but there is little enforcement. 11. The World Wildlife Fund,s effort in South Africa to redirect efforts from killing wildlife and game towards benefiting from tourism generated by wildlife parks and recreation has been very successful and could perhaps be repeated in Nigeria. The Savannah Conservation group, part of the Ford Foundation, is working to encourage residents surrounding the Yankari Game Park Reserve to not intrude on the park to poach game. The group is also implementing a loan program to assist these communities. Andrews
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