UN is offering transformative initiatives to help Nigerians face future challenges
Following noticeable gaps of Nigeria achieving the SDGs, the United Nations (UN) is proposing several transformative initiatives that would accelerate the achievement of the 2030 development agenda, according to UN’s Resident & Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Matthias Schmale.
“We are offering to Government several transformative initiatives that will help Nigerians be better equipped to face the challenges ahead and to ensure that no one gets left behind as we do so.” he remarked at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) Kuru Plateau State, while addressing participants in the Senior Executive Course (SEC) No. 45, on 25 May 2023.
Schmale explained that amongst other important matters, the initiatives focused on transforming education and ensuring that all children have access to quality learning; getting as many people, especially women and young people, into decent employment; transforming Nigeria’s food systems for improved food and nutrition security; moving towards strengthened and more accountable governance; and overcoming the national state of emergency created by violence against women and girls; among others.
“The UN does not hold the keys to sustainable development in Nigeria.” He spoke further, “Our role is a supportive one, and what we bring to the table is convening power and mobilising relevant knowledge and expertise from around the globe. The ultimate change agents are Nigerians themselves notably including people responsible for making and implementing policies.”
Speaking on the theme, “Industrialization, Energy Security and Climate Change in Nigeria: Issues Challenges and Prospects”, the UN Resident Coordinator observed that while Nigeria’s industrial strategy, which focused on protecting local industry, had to some extent “worked” to sustain the domestic industries, the industrial sector has not sustainably “grown” to create the kind of jobs and improvement in livelihoods that Nigeria needed.
Schmale identified three things that needed to happen for successful industrialization.
The first is to agree an explicit strategy for managing the impact of industrialisation, from energy sources to material resources and waste management, and how to manage these in a sustainable manner.
The other two, according to him, were to pursue a realistic and just energy transition away from oil and gas; and to get the balance right between the roles for both the private and public sectors. Government must create a more conducive business and investment environment in which the private sector can flourish and be the engine of sustainable development.
In his remarks, the Director General of the Institute, Professor Ayo Omotayo, noted that an industrialised Nigeria would generate more employment and increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country. He therefore called upong the course to develop a strategy and pathways towards ensuring a 12% GDP annual growth rate for Nigeria in the next five years.
He called on all participants to look back and reflect on what they could do to change the fortune of Nigeria. “We are training you as champions of change in Nigeria”, he said.
Prof. Omotayo charged them to double their efforts and find the right energy to propel change. “Do it for the poor people of Nigeria; Do it for the young people who are just coming out of the universities; Do it for humanity and for the benefit of mankind.” He added