UNICEF says plans are underway to establish grassroots disaster resilient programmes in the six geo-political zones of the country to ameliorate the effects of climate change.
Mr Kannan Nadar, the Officer in Charge in the UNICEF Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Department, revealed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in an interview in Abuja on Monday.
He said that the programme would be in collaboration with the Federal, State and Local governments, adding that nine out of 10 disasters that happen in the country were linked to climate change.
Nadar said that the programme would involve capacity building of the rural communities in disaster risk management, to help combat the adverse effects of climate change.
“Lately, it has been observed that nine out of 10 disasters that occur in Nigeria are related to climate change, so one of the things is to support disaster risk resilience to build the resilience of the community.
“If the communities have the capacity and they have resilience, then they can be protected because the effects of climate change cannot be prevented.”
He noted that construction of hand pump boreholes were some of the examples of technologies that could help in the adaptation and mitigation of these circumstances.
“The hand pump borehole is a technology which is very climate resilient that actually supports climate adaptation.”
He advised that disaster risk management should be included in governments’ programmes.
Nadar said that UNICEF would fund the programme from its own resources as well as support from the European Union, DFID and the U.S.
According to him, UNICEF is currently supporting the Federal Ministry of Water Resources in capacity building, policy support, monitoring framework and water and sanitation projects.
“We are presently supporting basically the whole country primarily with the Federal Ministry of Water in terms of capacity building, policy support and in terms of putting in place a monitoring framework.
“At the state level, it is primarily capacity building and service delivery; if we don’t increase in access, nothing will change,” he said.
The officer recommended the use of Community- Led Total Sanitation as the appropriate approach to sanitation in Nigeria.
He also said that the UN agency’s role included advocating support for the scaling up of such approaches like the CLTS as well as supporting the government in addressing existing disparities in the WASH sector.