One of the regions in Nigeria that is being negatively affected by climate change is the Niger Delta region. Over 90% of oil production activities in Nigeria take place in the region, which spans through the uplands to the deep sea. Oil explorations in the region has led to environmental degradation of monumental dimensions. Of serious concern is the enormous and consistent gas flaring which has been taking place in the Niger Delta region since the inception of oil production in Nigeria. Traditionally, agriculture (crop farming and livestock rearing) and fishing are the main sources of livelihood in the Niger Delta region. Both the uplands (dry land) as well as wetlands are cultivated. Farmers in the Niger Delta, particularly wetland farmers, operate between two extreme conditions- flooding and drought -which are associated with changes in climate. Delta state which is situated in the Niger Delta flood plain on the coast of Nigeria is particularly vulnerable to these impacts and has been experiencing the detrimental effects of climate change. A large number of the coastal towns in the state have already been displaced by flooding induced by rise sea level.
On the other hand, rural communities in this region have developed effective community-based risk reduction and adaptation strategies often initiated and led by women who play crucial roles in building the social infrastructures that make such adaptation possible. Women’s individual and collective knowledge and experience in natural resource management at the household and community levels in this region equip them with distinctive skills in adaptation and disaster risks reduction efforts. Supporting and empowering women and girls to adopt and adapt climate change strategies in innovative ways based on current and future evidence will not only give them ownership but also the confidence to take leadership of the process. It is in this context that the Centre for Population and Environmental Development (CPED) in collaboration with Intervention Council for Women in Africa (ICWA) and the Delta state Government through its Ministry of Environment (DMoE) applied for and granted funding support from the International Development Research Centre to implement a project on empowering women and girls in the promotion of climate change adaption and risk reduction initiative in Delta state.
This report, therefore, captures the proceedings of a three-day inception workshop of the research project titled “Empowering Women as Key Leaders in Promoting Community-based Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risks Reduction Initiatives in Niger Delta Region”. The forum which was organised by CPED in collaboration with ICWA and DMoE focused on building the capacity of the research team members and junior researchers on the strategies for implementation of the climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction project in Delta state.
The three-day capacity building workshop held in Precious Palm Royal Hotel, 3-4-5, December 2018, brought to bear timely, relevant and new knowledge among the project researchers and other key stakeholders in the implementation of the project with a view to increasing understanding of the varied impacts of, responses to, and adaptations to climate change in rural communities to enable identification of effective and affordable community-based approaches. It was organized to further identify and consolidate the reference points for tracking progress, validating targets and gathering more information that will inform implementation of the research project.
This report highlights some key messages and lessons from the different thematic discussions during the workshop.