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ADDRESS OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS (NLC), COMRADE AYUBA WABBA, mni ON THE OCCASION OF THE PUBLIC PRESENTATION OF THE NLC POLICY DOCUMENT ON CLIMATE CHANGE
02-Nov-2016


ADDRESS OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS (NLC), COMRADE AYUBA WABBA, mni ON THE OCCASION OF THE PUBLIC PRESENTATION OF THE NLC POLICY DOCUMENT ON CLIMATE CHANGE AT NICON LUXURY HOTEL ON 24TH OCTOBER 2016, ABUJA. Good morning comrades, ladies and gentlemen All protocols observed. The challenge of climate change, as widely seen in the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather events in many parts of the world, including Nigeria, has naturally come into the full purview of the NLC, because it affects the workplace. Hitherto our interest and involvement on Climate Change, like most trade unions particularly in Africa, had at best been ad hoc. However, in order to understand the phenomenon and strategise for a robust engagement on the issue, we have evolved a policy document to guide the work. Findings of the initial social survey, as part of Congress response to this complex and sad development, brought home the character and magnitude of the danger that lies ahead, were Congress to ignore the need to brace up itself. The evolution of the policy document had kick-started by a study which aimed at finding the general trade union issues on climate change with particular interest on how workers understand the issues and relate with it at the work place. Sadly, Congress appreciates through the study that many Nigerian workers do not sufficiently grasp the complex processes of the manifestation of climate crisis, nor are they able to relate its effects to the workplace. This policy document thus, represents the institutional response of Congress; setting out the scope, content and the thrust of the work it plans to undertake to address the emerging menace. As is clearly stated, Congress sees itself as a prime partner in the broader sectoral, national, regional and global programme to protect and maintain our natural environmental assets, even as the country aspires and plans to step up its economic production, to help realize the Vision 20: 2020 as much as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our specific understanding of the necessity to intervene is essentially derived from the social reality that both our natural environment and the Nigerian worker are critical to the delicate responsibility of ensuring the right resource mix, in pursuit of modern economic production, within the parameters of current globalization. Therefore, our practical policy response, as hereby captured, will be scientifically determined, in terms of taking active, and sustained interest in exploring the benefits and prospects of new, clean and carbon-free technologies, that will, in the longer term, protect public health and save jobs. Thus as we prepare for COP22 in Marakesh, Morocco in the next few weeks, I will like to call on the federal government and indeed African leaders and representatives to ensure that they go with a united voice to ensure a climate change deal that will propel Africa’s development in a progressive manner. The trade unions will also partner in this quest because of our firm belief that there is no climate change justice where workers interest is not sufficiently accommodated. Soon we shall be developing a framework of action for the trade unions on climate change that will also include strategic partnership with the broad civil society and government. Accordingly, Congress will work with interested parties to promote such alternative technologies, especially as they relate to public transportation, energy production, agriculture, mining, etc. It is the hope of Congress that this document will clearly signal the preparedness of Labour to lead in the fight against climate change crisis. We are honoured to observe that as at present only the Congress of South African Trade Unions COSATU and the NLC have a policy on climate change and we are prepared to partner with the other African trade unions to develop their strategies and action plans on an issue that has as much impact and potentials for trade union development. This policy document cannot be said to be all encompassing given the complex and dynamic nature of climate change and the apparent capacity, knowledge and skill deficit of trade unions, and the working people. Furthermore is the imminent challenge ahead to achieving the combined ideal of environmental protection and sustainable development. However, this modest effort will serve as a guide to action and be reviewed periodically by the relevant organs of Congress in appreciation of contemporary knowledge and best practices as well as unfolding events in the country and globally. This policy document was made possible with partnership of our long standing partner of decades, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung/Foundation to whom we say a big thank you. Very importantly we thank the leadership of Congress as represented by the organs for appreciating the importance of this work and therefore ratifying the policy document in record time. On behalf of the leadership and congress, I hereby present the first policy document of the Nigeria Labour Congress on climate change. Comrade Ayuba Wabba, mni. President. .

 

 


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