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Cop26: fears smaller nations will be priced out of hosting pavilions

nations

Cop26: fears smaller nations will be priced out of hosting pavilions

Countries and organisations planning to host events at vital UN climate talks in Glasgow next month have said they fear that increased costs at this year’s event will cause problems for developing nations.

Multiple participants said that the cost of renting Cop26 pavilions – event spaces for hosting workshops, panel discussions and keynote speeches during the conference – is considerably higher than it was at Cop25 in Madrid, with some saying it had increased by as much as 30%.

Organisations say they were told that a combination of Brexit and the pandemic were to blame for the high costs.

It comes after the Financial Times reported that one organisation was quoted nearly £500,000 for its space.

One official for a developing country said they were “very concerned” about operational capacity at the event, which due to the pandemic they also want to make available online, after they were told technicians could not be guaranteed unless they pay their expenses. The logistical operation, they said, is “confusing and expensive”.

They said the only transparent cost was the £400 a square metre rental rate, which does not include customisation and technological requirements, which they said could cost over £1,000 a square meter. In Madrid they said the rental cost was $400 – about £300 – a square meter.

An official for the World Health Organization, which is hosting a health pavilion at Cop26 with more than 60 events for global health delegates, said the “outrageous” pricing is more than double what they had originally planned for. They said organisers were blaming Brexit and a shortage of materials and human resources. They expect to spend $200,000 (£146,662) for a 62 sq metre space.

The official said that developing countries would undoubtedly be affected by the high costs.

“We have something aside that we can spend for these advocacy activities. But I don’t think it’s the case for many of the countries.”

They added: “We are trying to support the ministry of health of Fiji and other ministries of health from around the world, lower income countries, to come to Cop because we want the representation of the health community to be there. But even for us the prices of the flights and then the hotels are four times more than previous years.”

Another organisation said they were being forced to scale back plans for their pavilion as a result of rental costs being “30% higher than what it was in Madrid”.

The World Wildlife Fund, which is hosting a Cop26 pavilion, said pavilions play an important role in raising awareness of key issues and that there has been a “more significant increase” in cost than in previous years.

A spokesperson called on the UK government to ensure “equitable, inclusive and safe participation by developing nations and civil society”.

A UN spokesperson said developing countries that cannot afford the fees would have to speak to the UK government about it.

A Cop26 spokesperson said: “We are working closely with our delivery partners to ensure the stage is set for Cop26 when it begins later this month and are confident all pavilions will be ready in time.

“There has been unprecedented demand for pavilions at Cop26 and the impact of Covid on the supply of essential goods and materials has increased cost.”

They said the UK government has funded some of the pavilions but they have not been able to support all funding requests.

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Environment

Lagos govt shuts 367 churches, mosques, others over environmental violations

The Lagos State Government has shut 367 churches, mosques, night clubs and others over environmental violations in the last three months.

This was disclosed by the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Services, Tokunbo Wahab, at a ministerial news conference on Friday.

Wahab said the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) undertook the 367 enforcement activities in households, markets, hotels, warehouses, service centers, eateries, stores, church, mosques as well as 140 hospitality facilities including; Supermarket, Nightclubs, Bake houses with a view to ensuring compliance with the state environmental laws.

He said 76 abatement notices were served to individuals and organizations violating laws on indiscriminate discharge of raw sewerage into the lagoon or other forms of water and land pollution, saying that a 25% compliance rate with environmental laws was recorded compared to the previous year.

Wahab also warned residents of the State to desist from unhealthy environmental practices that could undermine government effort in protecting the environment against degradation and other climate change effects.

He added that its various agencies on environmental sustainability have been empowered to prosecute individuals or organizations that may be caught degrading the environment in any form .

Wahab revealed that the State government is committing huge resources on environmental protection against all forms of degradation, especially, the fight against climate change and its attendant effects on human health and the ecosystem.

He revealed that the State government would intensify efforts on enforcement to ensure compliance with the environmental laws to achieve a vision for a sustainable environment.

Wahab warned that LASEPA has been empowered more than before to ensure total compliance with State environmental laws 2017 across the State to safeguard the environment against further degradation because of its consequences on human health and the ecosystem.

The Commissioner, who explained that various enforcement operations carried out by his Ministry and its agencies across the State were in the interest of the public, noted that the State government would not fold its alms while allowing selfish few to continue undermining its reform efforts in preserving the environment for a better living and sustainable growth.

Wahab, who expressed worry over poor air quality level in many parts of the State as contained in LASEPA ‘s weekly reports of the Air quality index of the State warned against unfriendly environmental behaviours that could trigger climate change action

He stressed the need for green and improved air quality across the State to ensure healthy living for the citizenry, noting that the present air quality in many parts of the State as indicated in LASEPA’s report of the State’s Air Quality Index is unhealthy.

The Commissioner who highlighted some likely consequences of poor air quality as indicated in the index, stated that people in the affected areas may suffer from respiratory-related diseases such as lung infections, asthma, cystic fibrosis,   mesothelioma, pulmonary hypertension and running nose among others.

Other common diseases that may be found in areas with poor air quality, according to Wahab, include; high blood pressure, sight problems, irritation, heart problems, worsened underlying health conditions and other related health issues.

He, therefore, warned against activities that might lead to air pollution such as generator and vehicular emissions, industrial and agricultural activities such as burning of cow skin and electronic wastes, bush burning among others.

Wahab urged people to join the State government’s various advocacy programs targeted at improving the state of the environment for the better.

“The current air index reports in many parts of the State are not acceptable, this is largely caused by poor and unfriendly environmental behaviour which needs urgent change, we should be guided that whatever we do to the environment, it throws it back at us, we must therefore be conscious of what we do to the environment to enable us to live in peace” the Commissioner warned.

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Environment

NiMet predicts 3-day sunny, cloudy atmosphere

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NiMet, has forecast cloudiness and sunshine from Friday to Sunday across the country.

NiMet weather outlook released on Thursday in Abuja forecast sunny skies in hazy atmosphere on Friday over the northern region, with exception of Taraba State, where pockets of clouds could be visible during the forecast period.

The agency said sunny atmosphere patches of clouds are anticipated over the North Central region during the forecast period.

It stated that the cloudy atmosphere is expected over the southern region, with prospects of morning thunderstorms over parts of Cross River and Akwa Ibom states.

According to the agency, later in the day, isolated thunderstorms are expected over parts of Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Bayelsa, Rivers, Edo, Delta, Osun, Ogun, Ondo, Abia, and Imo states.

NiMet predicted sunny skies in a hazy atmosphere on Saturday over the northern region, with prospects of afternoon and evening thunderstorms over parts of Kaduna state.

It envisaged sunny skies with patches of clouds over the North Central region during the morning period.

Later in the day, isolated thunderstorms are expected over parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Niger, Nasarawa, Kwara, Kogi, and Plateau states.

Cloudy atmosphere with intervals of sunshine is expected over the southern region, with prospects of isolated thunderstorms over parts of Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, and Rivers states in the morning hours.

Later in the day, isolated thunderstorms are expected over the region,” it said.

According to NiMet, sunny skies in a hazy atmosphere are expected over the northern region during the forecast period on Sunday.

The agency predicted a sunny atmosphere with patches of clouds over the North Central region during the morning period.

NiMet forecast isolated thunderstorms over parts of Kwara, Kogi, Nasarawa, Benue, Plateau, and the Federal Capital Territory later in the day.

NiMet predicted a cloudy atmosphere over the southern region, with prospects of morning thunderstorms over parts of Lagos, Akwa Ibom, and Cross River states.

It anticipated isolated thunderstorms over parts of Edo, Osun, Ogun, Ondo, Imo, Ekiti, Abia, Anambra, Delta, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, and Lagos states later in the day.

“Strong winds may precede rains in areas where thunderstorms are likely to occur; the public should take adequate precaution.

“Airline operators are advised to get updated weather reports and forecasts from NiMet for effective planning in their operations,” NiMet added.

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Environment

31 states, 148 LGAs risk severe floods, FG warns

The Ebonyi State Government has denied that it  borrowed from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund contrary to a report by the Debt Management Office.

The DMO had reported that the Ebonyi State under the current administration led by Governor Francis Nwifuru, was among the 17 states that had borrowed $125.1 million (N111.24 billion) from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Debunking the report, the Ebonyi State Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Leonard Uguru, said  Nwifuru had not borrowed from either internal or foreign creditors since he assumed office on May 29, 2023.

He said:  “Since the inception of this administration, the Ebonyi State Government has not borrowed any money, whether foreign or domestic loans. So, any organisation that’s writing that Ebonyi is among the states that have borrowed money, I don’t know where they are getting their data.

“Among the South East states, Ebonyi is still the least in both domestic and foreign debts. Even though we have a trace of debt, which is the 150 million dollar loan from Africa Development Bank and Islamic Bank inherited from the past administration in the reconstruction of Ring Road, which is what made the loan increase, it is worth it as the road cuts across various local government areas of the state. Outside that, I don’t think there’s any other debt owed by the previous state government.”

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