Press "Enter" to skip to content

Aliyu Umar Sadiq: Africa can address climate change practically by establishing robust systems

Aliyu Umar Sadiq is a Young Career Environmental Professional and Pan-African Climate Activist. He is the Founder of Ecocykle. Ecocykle, an indigenous social enterprise that focus on providing innovative solutions to the problems of waste.

Aliyu is also an OXFAM Youth Spotlight Awardee. He recently emerged winner of the 2022 African Youth for Environment Fellowship. The Nigerian activist has focused immensely on environment & climate justice advocacy, waste management solutions, and empowerment initiatives for youth and women. He spoke with Oyebamiji Adesoji Usman of Susa Africa on his Climate advocacy journey, environmental issues and his recent Pet Project, Plastic Ecofriendly Toilet Project.

How did you become active in climate change advocacy?

My motivation to become a Climate Advocate began while I was a student at the University of Abuja. My passion to address existing devastating environmental issues prompted me to begin writing articles on ecological and climate issues, as well as recommended solutions. When I was elected student president, I took advantage of the opportunity to carry out several projects and inspired hundreds of students to take action on climate change.What can we do to lessen the current environmental problems we face?

Globally, unsustainable human activities and increased population are exacerbating environmental problems such as climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, and many others. We can reduce these problems individually and collectively by implementing sustainable practices such as proper waste management, reduced open burning, the use of eco-friendly products, tree planting, and policy advocacy to strengthen environmental protection, conservation, and emission reduction at the national, subnational, and local levels.

What concepts underlie your most recent project in Nigeria, a pet-friendly toilet?

The Plastic Ecofriendly Toilet Project (PET PROJECT) is a novel model we recently launched to mitigate plastic pollution, eliminate open defecation and promote a circular economy in Nigeria. The project has successfully upcycled 6500 plastic waste (PET Bottles) into a double unit toilet facility at Nyanya-Gbagyi Primary School, New Nyanya, Karu, Nasarawa State. Our vision is to replicate this project in several other plastic pollution hotspot communities across Sub Urban and rural communities in Nigeria.Considering the importance of this debate, climate change issues have received very little attention outside of the environmental specialist community. What initiatives does your organization have in place to educate Nigerians about the issues surrounding climate change?

So far, public education and innovative story telling have been two of the most effective strategies we’ve used to attain our objectives. We always incorporate innovative advocacy mechanisms to foster awareness (key messages) to young people while carrying out environmental projects, both within and outside the environment space. This has been a huge success because, more than ever before, beneficiaries of our projects are aware of the importance of not polluting the environment.

Going forward, we plan to develop more innovative environmental/climate change awareness projects to foster behavioral change among youth and women of all ages, disciplines, and social classes.What difficulties have you encountered? And how would you inspire others to support climate justice in a similar manner?

Financial difficulty is an expected difficulty at the start of any just endeavor; this difficulty has hampered many vibrant young people from becoming environmental advocates, particularly in Nigeria, where every young person is in search of daily bread. For myself, I always try to stay firm and resilient by leveraging other sources of income while pursuing a career in the environmental sector. “Pursue value and all other financial benefits will flock towards you,” my mentor “Dr. Richard Munang” always says.

So I will encourage other young people who are passionate about environmental and climate change problems to start small, stay focused, be visionary, and have other sources of self-sufficiency as they volunteer to gain more knowledge, skills, capacity, and add value to themselves.

Do you believe that young African climate change activists’ priorities differ from those of their peers around the world, if at all?

Climate change has an impact on every country, but these impacts take different forms and intensities. Despite emitting less than 4% of total greenhouse gas emissions globally, Africa is one of the continents most affected by climate change. These effects are exacerbated by the country’s high poverty rate, knowledge and technology gap, and inadequate infrastructure to address the impacts of climate change. Based on this debate, some African Climate Activists’ priorities may differ from those of other global activists.What’s the one thing international climate change conferences are failing at when it comes to representing African voices or experiences? And what’s one way this problem can be solved?

International climate conferences have made significant efforts to develop frameworks, agreements, and treaties to address climate change challenges in developing and developed countries, but implementation has always been a challenge. Strengthening implementation strategies and ensuring fulfilment of financial pledges to drive climate adaptation and mitigation projects are critical to achieving the climate action desired by the most vulnerable communities.

What one area of representation of African voices or experiences is lacking in international climate change conferences? And how may this issue be resolved, in your opinion?

Despite existing efforts by some African countries, youth are still underrepresented at international climate change conferences and negotiations. As a result, improved finances, opportunities, and capacity building are critical for countries to ensure adequate youth representation in future conferences.

What concerns should be given top priority while advocating for Africa on climate change?

Climate finance, resilience building, nature-based solutions, indigenous knowledge, and technological development are critical pillars in achieving sustainable development for Africa in the face of climate change.

Should our attention be directed toward regional climate change advocacy, cooperation, and conferences instead? Is there, in your opinion, an African “perspective” on climate change?

While Africa envisions building a regional financial system to address its development needs, including the climate change crisis, integration of its regional climate issues must be incorporated into the global climate agenda to strengthen actions that address Africa’s most pressing problems at global conferences.

What can the African nations do to combat climate change practically?

Africa can address climate change practically by establishing robust systems that guarantee independent acquisition of climate finance, strengthen financial transparency, enable data-informed decision making, and enforce climate policies to reduce emissions and pollution.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Mission News Theme by Compete Themes.