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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
01ABUJA2445
2001-09-25 15:07:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Abuja
Cable title:  

NIGERIA: PRIORITIES FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

Tags:  SENV EAID NI 
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						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