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A COMMUNIQUE ON THE NETWORK OF CIVIL SOCIETY IN ENVIRONMENT LED ADVOCACY TO ESTABLISH A PERMANENT DIALOGUE MECHANISM WITH THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT

A COMMUNIQUE ON THE NETWORK OF CIVIL SOCIETY IN ENVIRONMENT LED ADVOCACY TO ESTABLISH A PERMANENT DIALOGUE MECHANISM WITH THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT

 

PREAMBLE 

On July 12, 2023 the Network of Civil Society in Environment (NCSE) paid an advocacy visit to the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. The network comprises civil society groups, media, academia and private sector who have been working with national and sub national governments including Kaduna State, leveraging community based organisations, civil society organisations and existing engagement frameworks with the media to advocate, educate and strengthen capabilities in the area of environmental protection and climate change. 

 

The House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources of Kaduna State House of Assembly is a critical actor as the composite representative of the people with oversight functions on issues concerning the environment in terms of performance and efficiency of the legal framework, institutions, policy and interventions targeted at alleviating the concerns of the people in the area of environment protection, sustainability and management amidst the challenges posed by climate change. The Committee which has been set up barely two days prior to the advocacy visit draws membership from the constituency representatives across the state. These Honourable members who were present to receive the NCSE are: Hon. Usman D.Stingo (Chairman); Hon. Aminu Lawal Anty (Vice Chairman); Hon. Haruna Barnabas; Hon. Peter Agite. Also, Hon. Marah Henry Zakariah (Chairman, House Committee on Information, Non Governmental Organizations & Development Partners) and Rt. Hon. Barr. Emmanuel Bako Kantiok (Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary) was present at the meeting with the delegation from the Network. The Committee Clerk and other clerical staff of the Assembly were present and efficient at facilitating for a smooth dialogue and engagement. 

 

The Network’s visit to the Assembly is coming at the heels of the inauguration of the House Committees, with  a purpose to seek for the establishment of a permanent dialogue mechanism with the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn, a program of the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office of the United Kingdom alongside the leadership and members of the Network were the delegation in attendance. The House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources which is finely composed of members of the parliament including Chairs of other relevant committees including Planning and Budget, Health, Information, Non Governmental Organizations & Development Partners and Municipal Authorities were in attendance to receive the civil society delegation during the visit. The composition of the Committee members and delegation that received the Network of Civil Society in Environment during the visit were: 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The network commended the 10th Assembly of the Kaduna State House of Assembly, for opening her doors to the civil society space and improving on civic engagements, a new tradition in the parliament that has taken roots from the 9th Assembly of Kaduna State. 
  • The delegation appreciated that the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, is  receiving civil society partners barely two days after inauguration to highlight the sense of urgency the Assembly is placing on participatory governance, cooperation and collaboration for the best ecosystem to achieve sustainable development.
  • In informed the Committee on the commemoration of the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction on the 13th of October, and the urgency of the need for stronger cooperation and partnerships for the attainment of the  sustainable development goals and climate action, as imperative for an enabling space for engagement with government especially the legislature to strengthen and sharpen policy implementation through a result driven approach around oversight duty and legislation. 
  • The Network made an appeal to the committee to set up a permanent dialogue mechanism with non-state actors towards improving better outcomes in the area of environment protection, conservation, climate change and disaster risk reduction across Kaduna State. 
  • The Network believes that such a platform will enable robust dialogue, access to research and evidence for better service delivery through legislative duties of the Committee. 
  • The parliament is a significant institution in Nigeria’s democracy for citizens to engage on issues of service quality, legal framework for policy implementation and systems strengthening of government institutions for expected results. These are only attainable with open spaces for engagement with the committee which a permanent dialogue mechanism can enable. 
  • Through a permanent dialogue mechanism, the committee will interact with research, access reliable data for decision making; consistently engage diverse stakeholders in the promotion of the right ecosystem for sustaining the environment amidst the challenges of climate. 
  • It was emphasised by the NCSE that the giant strides recorded so far in the area of mutual accountability in Kaduna State as expressed in the Open Government Partnership, sectoral permanent dialogue mechanisms with the executive and some enabling legislations passed by the 8th and 9th Assembly, the legislature should be encouraged to place the state in new light in the area of upholding participatory governance through open parliament concepts that encourages collective, cooperative open response for sustainable development. 
  • According to the committee, the 10th Assembly under the current leadership is interested in hitting the ground running and will be opening her doors to partnerships that can improve the attainment of sustainable development. 
  • The House Committee has among her members re-elected members of the parliament, current Chairs of other Committees notably Health, Planning and Budget, Information, non governmental organisations and development partners. For the committee, this is an opportunity to turn the fortunes around for the environment, the people, livelihoods and biodiversity. 
  • The current Assembly is committed to ensuring the people of Kaduna State are informed and enlightened about the activities of the parliament and also encourage the dissemination of such realities to the global community for peer learning, review, exchange for sustainable development and the House Committee on Information, Non Government Organizations and Development Partners is going to be working in improving this area of need with all the Committees of the parliament.

 

RESOLUTIONS

  • The House Committee has committed to being intentional in working with the Network of Civil Society in Environment towards establishing a permanent dialogue mechanism that will encourage the participation of the constituents of the parliament, civil society, resource persons, private sector, development partners to effectively engage on evidence based feedback to improve the quality of oversight and legislation of the 10th Assembly on issues of the environment and natural resources. . 
  • The Committee has pledged to leverage on its membership to ensure the environment gets the multi-sectoral approach, cooperation and attention it demands.
  • The Network of Civil Society in Environment has been tasked by the Committee to bring the needed partners to set up a framework for engagement across all the constituencies to enrich the parliament  on concerns of the environment affecting the people of Kaduna State. Through this partnership the Assembly will be leveraging the resourcefulness of civil society to strengthen its capacity and outreach in consultation and dialogue with stakeholders in sustaining the environment.
  • The House Committee acknowledges the benefits of an enabling ecosystem for sustainability initiatives which the permanent dialogue mechanism can enable and will pursue the possibilities.
  • The House Committee is open to partnerships that can aid the Committee in protecting the people by protecting the environment and encourages more stakeholders to reach out. 
  • In the interim the House Committee has immediately set up the dialogue platform to enable subsequent engagements demonstrating readiness to hit the ground running. 

 

Signed:

 

Zinta Apoko

Secretary

Network of Civil Society in Environment

 

Gloria Kasang Bulus 

Bridge that Gap Initiative

Coordinator,  Network of Civil Society in Environment 

 

Danjuma Abbas Dangwa

Coalition of Associations for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment and Development (CALPED)

Deputy Coordinator, Network of Civil Society in Environment 

 

Lydia Saleh

Centre for Water Environment and Development (CWED)

Deputy Secretary, Network of Civil Society in Environment 

 

Jeremiah Irimiya

Young Men Christian Association (YMCA)

Head of Research and Development, Network of Civil Society in Environment 

 

Simon Zagwa

Dogara Community Development Foundation

MEAL (Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning) Officer, Network of Civil Society in Environment 

 

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