TABLE OF CONTENTS
Factors that influence sustainable development
Addressing sustainable growth in Nigeria..
Solutions to sustainable development in Nigeria
Like any developing nation, Nigeria faces some challenges in its development stride and efforts to improve the quality of life of its citizens. The critical economic issues concern the need to foster sustainable rapid economic growth that will cater for the needs of its large population and the imperative for proper integration of its domestic economy into the world economy in the face of increasing globalization. The government also recognizes that advancing democratic governance is key to the political stability of the country. Overcoming the challenges of poverty, fighting corruption, meeting the basic needs of the people, inadequate and inefficient infrastructure and development of human resources and capital for sustainable growth and equity are critical social challenges that government is determined to address. The government also recognizes the need to maintain the sustainability of the country’s environmental resources for the benefit of present and future generations.
Nigeria reckons that for it to meet its development challenges and follow the path of sustainable development, it will focus its efforts at:
Creating consistent demand for good governance including addressing socio-economic and political marginalization that seem to fuel conflicts;
Tackling poverty and reducing inequality through inclusive policies and people-centred development programmes, as well as addressing critical factors of poverty,
underdevelopment, joblessness and lack of economic diversification;
Promoting environmental sustainability;
Greening various sectors of its economy to capitalize on emerging opportunities to leapfrog development, and
Promoting massive investment in people to tap unto the latest potential offered by globalization and new information technology.
To do this effectively, the government has:
Put in place policies and programmes aimed at fulfilling its commitment towards social progress, accelerated economic growth and enhanced environmental management;
Strengthened institutional and legal frameworks imperative for sustainable development and the National Assembly carries out oversight functions and monitors effectively and evaluates the implementation of projects captured in the budget of the MDAs.
Embarked on a number of initiatives for financing sustainable development; and
Supported a number of implementation imperatives and mechanisms, particularly as they relate to governance, education and awareness creation, capacity building, multistakeholders’ participation and international and regional cooperation.
The strategic approach that is adopted to operationalize sustainable development in Nigeria centres on critical mechanisms of:
Education, public awareness and capacity building;
Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
Science, technology and innovation
ReseaInternational and regional cooperation
At the heart of pursuing development in Nigeria is expand infrastructure, build resilient public institutions, reduce poverty, develop new technology, job employment, decrease in maternal and child mortality and develop and implement climate change adaptation strategies. The meaning of the concept of development has undergone a series of change both in theoretical and practical aspect. The concept of development has undergone series of changes, the following definitions are universally acceptable. Todaro and Smith (2009) defines development as the process of improving the quality of all human lives, which focuses on three important aspects: raising people’s level of living, creating conditions conducive to the growth of people’s self-esteem, and increasing people’s freedom. Bellu (2011, p.2) defines development as “the improvement, either in the general situation of the system, or in some of its constituent elements, which may occur due to some deliberate action carried out by single agents or by some authority pre-ordered to achieve improvement, to favorable circumstances or both.”
In recent times, there has been an interest in both definition of development and development approached. This interest resulted in the adoption of Sustainable Development (SD), a concept which was highlighted in the Brunt land Report of 1987 and at the Stockholm Conference of 1972 (UNECA, 2012). The shift was borne out of the global links between environmental problems and socio-economic concerns. (Bellu, 2011). Focusing on economics and physical wealth in the pursuit of development has proven to be unsustainable not only from the environmental perspective but also from the economic, social and employment perspectives because it is resource-intensive, hence the need to pursue SD (ILO, 2012).
According to Adams (2006), the idea of Sustainable Development (SD) dates back more than 30 years ago, and it was coined by the World Conservation Union (Association of African Universities, 2009).
The Bruntland Report defines Sustainable Development (SD) as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs.” The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD, 2001) also defines SD as the development path along which the maximization of human well-being for today’s generation does not lead to the decline in the well-being of the future generation. These definitions suggest that SD considers the needs of the future and current generations in tandem, and it is rooted in the pursuit of the welfare and well-being of the people. SD is motivated by the negative externalities that are responsible for natural resource depletion and degradation; it requires screening public goods that are essential for economic development, and it also stresses the importance of retaining the flexibility of the environment to respond to shock (OECD, 2001).
In order to achieve SD, Nigeria governments have launched several strategies. Many poverty alleviation programs have been launched in different states in Nigeria and also R-20 program.
The objective of this paperwork is to critically explore sustainable development in Nigeria in the context of the progress made, the current barriers that need to be removed and the prospect that should be pursued. Base on this, this study is situated in the qualitative paradigm of social research which is relevant for conducting expository studies. A review of relevant work on sustainable development policies in Nigeria was conducted including major policies and programs in economic growth, poverty reduction, environment and situation, democracy and governance and population characteristics.
The online research instrument was used for data collection, the source of data for this study is secondary data. This was collected from books, journals articles magazines and conference reports. The data collected were subjected to narrative analysis in order to arrive at the relevant conclusion
FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Nigeria like any other developing country is confronted with factors that hinder sustainable development and efforts to improve the quality life of its citizens for well leaving. The following highlighted below are the factors hindering sustainable development in Nigeria
1. Economic factors
Base on critical economic issues in Nigeria that need to be urgently addressed, there is the need to Foster sustainable rapid economic growth that will cater for the need of over 160 million people and the imperative for proper integration of its domestic economy.
Nigeria’s economy is still characterized by declining capacity utilization of major infrastructural facilities, large budget deficit, unacceptable level of unemployment and inflation. In addition, the economy had critical problems of dependence as well as undue reliance on a single commodity, which is oil, weak industrial base and private sector, low level of agricultural production and high debt overhang and inefficient public utilities. The government acknowledges that it faces these challenges in its efforts to rapidly transform the economy from a developing to developed economy by 2020. In particular, the government notes that the dependence of the economy as reflected in the manner in which it has been integrated into the global political economy and the impacts of globalization, as well as the domineering role of the informal sector in the national economy, should be addressed.
In this regard, the government is emphasizing the need to get the conditions right to achieve macroeconomic stability and competitiveness for the Nigerian economy to be transformed into a dynamic and productive entity that could direct the nation in the path of sustainable human development. A major emphasis is on altering the structure of production and consumption activities so as to diversify the economic base, reduce dependence on oil and imports, to put the economy on a path of self-sustaining and non-inflationary growth. This will enlarge the country’s employment base and provide hope for the large youthful population of unemployed.
There is the general acceptance in the country that viable and stable democracies did not evolve overnight, but matured over years through hiccups and fits and starts, and that democracy will never thrive in a situation where it is periodically truncated or terminated on the pretext that political actors are not getting things right or performing to expectation. Thus, the government notes that the main challenge is to advance democracy in a way that is dynamic, peaceful and sustainable. This calls for democratic consolidation that will build upon the gains of democratic governance that has been in place since 1999, as well as fostering a new social compact between the state, civil society and the private sector. The emphasis of the government is to address the political challenges of:
Breaking the alliance among what IDEA (2000) called Nigeria’s anti-democratic “troika”, militarism and negative communalism (ethnic militia and religious fanaticism) and petrobusiness.
Delivering “democratic dividends” equitably in order to improve the quality of life of Nigerians and thus consolidate their optimism in democracy.
Improving the degree of political equality, peace and human security, inter-group tolerance, inclusiveness and popular participation.
Ensuring political leadership by responsive and responsible leaders.
Overcoming poverty, meeting the basic necessities of the people, provision of adequate infrastructure developing human resources for sustainable growth and equity are the main challenges to the advancement of the social pillar of sustainable development in the country. In addition, considering the increase in population, growthrate of urbanization and the low level of water resources development, modern technology and capacity building to bridge the operational, maintenance and safety of dams for optimum use of water resources infrastructures requires adequate funding for sustainability.
- Environmental factors
Due to activities of human being, the land has pose threats to environment which led to health challenges of people leaving in that particular environment and leaving human being vulnerable. The direct environmental hazards faced by different ecological regions of the country are many and varied. The factors of increasing environmental stress include increasing pressure on natural resources due to large population that is increasing at a high rate, unsustainable agricultural practices, the imperative of industrialization and economic growth as well as rapid urbanization due to unplanned and uncontrolled rural-urban migration. All these have combined to produce critical environmental problems and challenges which is capable of derailing the national path of sustainable human development if left unchecked. Ensuring environmental sustainability faces many challenges. One is the production of food to meet the needs of the growing population while minimizing the clearing of land for agriculture and heavy dependence on chemical pesticides and fertilizers, particularly in the northern part of the country. Others are
(i) the promotion of sustainable use of natural resources, including water;
(ii) meeting the rapidly growing energy needs of present and future population mostly through environment-friendly renewable energy resources; and
(iii) adaptation of clean development mechanism and use of energy efficiency and clean conventional technologies at affordable cost.
4 Regional factors
The issues with regional development in Nigeria include low access to infrastructure, high poverty levels, unplanned urban sprawl, intermittent religious and ethnic conflicts and environmental degradation. The disparities in regional development are due to a number of factors, which include history, culture, natural endowment and the factor of politics. These are issues that contribute to peculiar developmental problems in the different regions of the country. For example, general environmental degradation occurs in the Niger Delta due to petroleum extraction from the area, the north of Nigeria experiences desert encroachment, while some southern parts of the country are devastated with gully erosion. In addition to these are other cross-cutting issues like rural-urban drift which affect all the regions. All these constitute major challenges to sustainable development
- Science and Technology
There is need to improve in the use of technology in Nigeria, Nigeria has a low rate of technological usage. There’s need to invest in science and technology for better productivity. The efficient use of scientific and technological advances is essential for economic development and social progress. One major factor militating against national development is poor scientific and technological support, and the research and development patronage. The government acknowledges that globalization is largely driven by information and communication technology (ICT), and that knowledge has become a principal force of social transformation. Thus, knowledge-based and knowledge-led development holds the promise that many of the problems confronting humanity could be significantly alleviated if only the requisite information and expertise are systematically and equitably employed and shared (d’Orville, 2002). Nigeria therefore is determined to address the challenge of developing its ICT capacity for development.
ADRESSING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GROWTH IN NIGERIA
Just to mention but few based on the scope and limit of this paper, these are the few addressing issues towards sustainable development growth in Nigeria-
- Poverty eradication
Both government and individuals has for long time recognized that poverty is a serious impediment to sustainable development and government has made many attempts to alleviate it. Some of the early attempts include the establishment of:-
Department of Food, Roads, and Rural Infrastructure (DFFRI) with the major aims of opening up the rural areas and to improve the conditions of the vulnerable poor;
National Directorate of Employment (NDE) to tackle the problem of mass unemployment;
People’s Bank of Nigeria (PBN) to cater for the credit needs of the less privileged Nigerians;
Better Life Programme (BLP) which was gender specific and meant to improve the life of rural women. The programme was later replaced by Family Support Programme
The Nomadic and Adult Education Programmes to assist in the eradication of illiteracy.
Under Priority Policies for the Development of Education, the Transformation Agenda will be implemented to promote primary enrolment of all children of school age, irrespective of the income profile of the policies, engage in the provision of infrastructure such as; classrooms across all levels, so as to ease over-crowding, increase access and reduce pupil/teacher ratio and enhance the efficiency, resourcefulness and competence of teachers and other educational personnel through training, capacity building and motivation. Government will continue to promote access to higher education by approving the establishment of private universities. Education policy and initiatives to make education available to all and improve its relevance for skill building and development for national sustainable development will be pursued.Government has already put in place a number of initiatives to enhance access to education. These include:-
• boarding Schools (102 in number)completed or nearing completion under the Almajiri Education Programme spread across all the six geo-political zones of Nigeria.
This will help in mainstreaming the almajiri system with the Basic education Programme
• Construction of model girls and special programmes of campaign to enhance access girl-child education in the South Eastern part of Nigeria.
• Programmes in place for children of nomads, migrant fishermen and street children with emphasis on developing their talents so that they can be economically productive.
• Female Teachers Trainees scholarship Scheme (FTTS) targeted at female teachers from rural communities who on completion of their studies will remain back in the communities and teach in this rural schools.
• Teacher and school leadership development programme aimed at sponsored overseas training for science teachers, professional development programmes organised by National Teachers Institute, Universal basic Education Commission and Tertiary Education Trust Fund and Training for Head Teachers, principals and Vice Principals to enhance their leadership activities.
State governments are consistently accessing intervention funds for rehabilitation, development of infrastructure as well as provision of school materials. About 19,600,00 English Language, mathematics, Basic Science and Technology activity books have been provided for primaries 1, 2 and 3. Similarly, 4,944,000 library resources materials were provided for Junior Secondary Schools.
There has been a comprehensive review of school curricula at basic and post- basic levels to ensure that it is in line with national development objectives and integrate it with technical and vocational education to enhance the skills base of school products. All 51 federal and State Government polytechnics have been equipped while others are being rehabilitated. Entrepreneurship Centre has also been established in tertiary Institutions to enhance skills development and the ability of students to transmit successfully into society.
Institutional Framework is being developed to enhance the functional national systems for education in the following areas:
• Guidance and Counselling
• Quality assurance
• Teachers Development Needs Assessment/ Professional Development
• Monitoring of learning Achievement
• Education Management Information System
• School-Based Management Committees
Sustainable Consumption and Production
The Federal Government of Nigeria established a number of public institutions that deal with matters of sustainable consumption and production and protection of citizens’ right and health. They include:
• National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) which regulates health standards of food and drugs
• Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) which establishes standards for products and processes and ensuring compliance on Federal Government’s policy on Standardisation, Quality Assurance and Metrology
• Consumer Protection Council (CPC) which deals with the protection of consumers’ right and assist them to seek redress for injury, damage and loss suffered and seeks ways to eliminate hazardous products from the market.
The CPC specifically protects consumer rights and ensures reasonable/sustainable consumption of products, services and information tools. The Council has been functioning to amongst others, provide speedy redress to consumers’ complaints through negotiations, mediation and elimination of hazardous products, with replacement of safer and more appropriate alternatives. These are in addition to promoting sound industrial products and practices through control of advertising, eco-labeling, re-use, repair, recycle, waste reduction, extended product responsibility, removal of harmful materials, research and development.
- Sustainability science
Nigeria recognizes that science and technology are critical in the service of a transition towards sustainability and in understanding the complex interactions of global processes with the ecological and social characteristics of particular places and sectors, as well as the society’s capacity to guide the relevant interactions towards a more sustainable development pathway. Government will support sustainability science approach to its struggle to meet the needs of a growing population that is projected to more than double and to reach about 244 million in 2050. This will enable the country to advance its ability to analyze and predict the behaviour of the complex and multi-dimensional nature-society interactions that are expected to result from the pressures our development efforts are putting on the Earth’s essential life-support system. Scientists and practitioners will be supported to work together to produce genuine and coherent problem-solving knowledge that combines scientific excellence with social relevance in the national stride towards sustainable development. Thus sustainability science will be pursued to develop scientific breakthroughs in the economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainable development for Nigeria’s development.
- Agriculture and Food Security
The need to have sufficient and adequate food for all Nigerians is an important one. Many factors of demand and supply affect the Nigerian food situation. On the demand side, the factors we are more familiar with include the annual increase of the population and the desire of 164million Nigerians to move up the food chain and consume more grains, tubers, fruits, vegetables, livestock, etc. There is also the recent sharp increase in the global use of grain and oil palm to produce diesel/fuel for driving cars, which could soon pose a major food security challenge. On the supply side, there is limited new land to cultivate. Even when more new areas have been cleared, it is with growing environmental and climatic costs. These costs include the release of sequestered carbon, loss of plant and animal species and increase in rainfall runoff and soil erosion. There are also crop/livestock pests and disease challenges associated with climate changes. Drought and desertification continue to pose challenges for crop and livestock production.
Effort is already being made to undertake a Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) with development partners by assessing climate risks in agriculture, and to develop specific strategies for achieving climate resilience and low carbon growth in agriculture. There is also an on-going Nigerian Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) with an overall objective of rehabilitating degraded lands and reducing erosion and the impact of climate variability in targeted areas.
More specifically, the new support towards addressing environmental issues on agriculture is focusing on promoting the use of climate smart agricultural technologies and practicing sustainable agricultural production and processing. These include the use of improved (drought tolerant) seed varieties, change in seeding dates, low tillage, rain water harvesting, soil conservation practices and grazing land management. Weather index crop and livestock insurance is being introduced under the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending Scheme (NIRSAL). The application level is still low and requires more capacity building among service providers as well as farmers/investors and the provision of weather observatory materials for collecting reliable weather data upon which the weather index insurance depends.
- Industry and Manufacturing
- As part of government’s drive to encourage investments and promote industrial development in Nigeria, various incentive packages in form of fiscal measures like tax deductions and allowances, necessary infrastructural facilities in remote mining sites like access roads, power supply etc., mining equipment, tools and facilities for monitoring mining activities in the minesfield. that have been designed will be implemented for the industrial sector of the economy to encourage entrepreneurship, develop indigenous technology, bring in new technology, develop the capital markets and increase competitiveness for the benefit of the citizenry, as well as industrialization of the vast areas of the country, abolition of restrictive monopoly regulation, significant opening up of activities previously reserved for the public sector; specific measures initiated in sectors, including textile, heavy industries, mineral, oil and gas, petro-chemical, pharmaceutical, electricity, small and medium enterprises, ICT, etc.
- Information and Communication Technology (ICTs)
Nigeria, acknowledges the role of ICTs in accessing and sharing information providing new mechanisms for citizen participation, people empowerment and accountability. Thus it is investing in the ICT sector.The proposed investment for the ICT sector between 2011 and 2015 is $148 million (N22.2 billion). The agenda will focus on the development of a National Knowledge Based Economy (KBE) 10-year Strategy Plan, sustained human capacity development in ICT creation of a favourable and friendly investment and enterprise environment through transparency in tax systems, anti-trust laws, incentives and trade policies that would stimulate local and foreign investments in ICT, as well as development of infrastructure particularly global connectivity as a prerequisite to leveraging the benefits of the global economy improving domestic productivity and attracting foreign investments. Other strategies are: creation of an enabling environment through appropriate policies, legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks and enhancing Public Private Partnership (PPP) in project funding, financing and management.The government will implement the ICT policy and initiatives to provide integrated governance, reach the citizens faster and provide efficient services and citizen empowerment through access to information.
Nigerian roads are the major means of transportation for over 90 % of inland movement of freight and passengers. The country recognises that development of roads especially during construction and maintenance brings about environmental challenges. But such challenges are assessed through EIAs at the various stages of road construction. Recently the National Council on Works in April 2012, prohibited the use of Cut-Back Bitumen in road construction in Nigeria.
The government is however determined to establish a safe, efficient and seamless transport system in line with global best practices within a policy frame work and specific initiatives towards achieving sustainable development, growth and poverty reduction. Some of the initiatives will include:
Concession of the Nation’s sea ports to improve their efficiency and effectiveness, reduce cost of services to users, encourage Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and promote opportunities for local investors;
Dredging of our inland waterways and the rehabilitation of existing rail network and the construction of new rail across the country to allow for seamless movement of goods and persons;
Improving the overall connectivity of the population to local, regional, national and international markets, and opening areas with abundant reserves, increasing access to labour and physical resources thus facilitating the realization of the country’s comparative advantages;
Ensuring that the different transport modes (road, rail, maritime and air) provide opportunities for citizens to enjoy high quality of life devoid of environmental hazards caused by emission of CO2 and decreasing any form of adverse ecological impact. Emphasis is placed on ensuring efficiency and effectiveness of the transport system for sustainable development through improved interfacing/integration of the available modes;
Exploiting the potentials of all available transport modes towards developing a multimodal integrated modern transport system that will ease movement of goods and trade thus enhancing economic activity;
Expanding available transport infrastructure including the construction and maintenance of Access/Feeder roads, to support and stimulate economic growth throughout the country, including the rural areas.
Instituting a private-sector led transport system that is responsive to the needs of the economy through an enabling Public Private Partnership (PPP)
Continuous review of policy, regulation and coordination in the sector to align with international best practices and conformity to existing international protocols; and
Enhanced funding of the sector for the domestication of relevant international laws and protocols and R&D to make all modes of transportation in the country sustainable development compliant.
In summary, the government expects total investment for the transport sector during the period 2011-2015 to be approximately N4, 465 billion. The investment would cover roads, railways, inland waterways, ports and airports development. The main policy thrust during the implementation of the Transformation Agenda Plan period is to evolve a multimodal, integrated and sustainable transport system with greater emphasis on rail and inland waterways transportation. An enabling environment for Public-Private Partnership (PPP) is being created by designing new policies, legislation and institutional framework that would support the envisaged transformation of the sector.
SOLUTIONS TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA
- Green Economy
According to Dahlin (2010), “Green growth is the means by which the current economy can make the transition to a sustainable economy, to avoid the cost of inaction”. It involves promoting growth and development while reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, minimising waste and inefficient use of natural resources, maintaining biodiversity, and strengthening energy security. It requires further decoupling of environmental impacts from economic growth, and greening of consumption and production patterns, while reducing poverty and improving health and job prospects. Green growth means making investment in the environment a new source of economic growth.
According to UNEP (2011), green economy is “an economy that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.” At the operational level, the green economy is seen as one whose growth in income and employment is driven by investments that:
Reduce carbon emissions and pollution;
Enhance energy and resource efficiency; and
Prevent the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.
- Improving governance and reducing vulnerability to corruption are core development challenges. Sustainable development is essentially about reducing poverty, and there is clear evidence that the poor are the most vulnerable to corruption and suffer most from the impacts of poor governance and weak performing institutions. Therefore, participation will be a major tenet of good governance in the pursuit of sustainable development. Governance shall be strengthened by a number of policies and regulations that are already in place and where necessary, new ones shall be produced. Some of the existing policies and regulations cover industrial pollution control, desertification control and drought mitigation, access to genetic resources and benefit sharing, coastal and marine area protection amongst others.
To actualise eco-governance that is very imperative for sustainable development, government will pursue the following strategies:
Integrate environment into the development process,
Promote active public participation in sustainable development discourse;
Uphold the principle of the rule of law;
Enhance human rights;
Empower women, youth and vulnerable groups; Promote transparency and accountability;
Promote the mechanisms necessary for policy-making, coordination and enforcement at all levels of governance;
Improve implementation of Multi-lateral Environmental Agreements and Conventions for synergy;
Reinvigorate scientific research and development;
Adopt a multi-disciplinary approach;
Adherence to best environmental management practices;
Enhance the role of local government in implementing sustainable development including through continuing support for Local Agenda 21 programmes and other subnational sustainable development strategies.
Reinvigorate partnerships between government and non-governmental actors, organized private sector, women, youths, and civil society groups.
- Education, Public Awareness and Capacity Building
Achieving sustainable development requires awareness, a change of mindset and behaviours and capacity to respond. Furthermore, human capital development is very strategic to sustainable socio-economic development. Skilled human resources would enable the optimal exploitation and utilization of other resources to engender growth and development. Government will therefore, take a holistic approach by implementing strategies to realise the following:
Promote education of the citizenry on the issues of the linkage between development and environment to ensure positive behavioural changes;
Build the capacity of more Nigerians especially in the area of technology so as to enhance their ability to manage environmental resources efficiently;
Further raise public awareness using all forms of media channels;
Reinforce and promote indigenous knowledge;
The existing Universities Linkage Centres and Research Institutes strengthen to promote environmental education.
- Stakeholders’ Participation
The government of Nigeria recognizes that nation-states are not the only stakeholders that play important roles in environmental sustainability and national development issues. Action will be taken to build a broad-based coalition with several stakeholders and ensure their active participation in governance. The stakeholders will includes public and private sector organizations, non-governmental organizations, trade unions, cooperatives, business associates, professional bodies, policy advocacy groups, consumer and human right groups, women associations, youth clubs, community - based organizations and coalitions, faith – based organizations, academia and research institutions.
- Information and Communication Technology
The government of Nigeria is aware that the internet and other forms of information and communication technology (ICT) are critical to realization of sustainable development. This is because they provide policy makers, individuals and communities with access to information, communication and knowledge resources that can be used for understanding national development and sustainability issues. It is this light that Nigeria launched NigCom-Sat communication satellite with a back up in 2011. This satellite has the potentials of promoting better Internet access, e-commerce, e-government, e-education, as well as data and voice exchange. In addition, the Galaxy Backbone was deployed in 2007 as a means of providing greater access to digital data and voice.
In order to further take the advantages embedded in ICT, government will pursue the following strategies and initiatives:
Utilization of the Global System for Sustainable Development (GSSD) which is an adaptive, interactive system for knowledge networking, knowledge management, and knowledge sharing for use in conjunction with Internet resources to among others identify policies and strategies that facilitate social and environmental sustainability, and track range of policy responses nationally and internationally;
Development of a functional environmental information management system, which is imperative for the proper monitoring of, and reporting on, the state of the country’s environment;
Strengthening local, states, and national capacity to collect and use multi-sectoral information in decision-making processes and;
Operationalization of the Poverty-Sustainable Development Indicators produced in the country for monitoring changes in environmental quality and poverty reduction.
- International and Regional Coordination
Since 1992 when UNCED was held, the commitment of the Nigerian government to international cooperation towards environmental protection and sustainable development has increased tremendously. The country has adopted three major strategies- collaboration, partnership and networking with the international communities. Nigeria will be more proactive in strengthening its cooperation with countries in both the global North and South. Closer collaboration will be forged with multilateral organizations such as the United Nations and its specialized agencies as well as with New Partnership for African Development, ECOWAS and bilateral organizations, towards providing assistance for the implementation of eco-friendly programmes and projects.
- Sciences, Technology and Innovation
The government is quite cognisant of the crucial role of science, technology and innovation (ST & I) in the promotion of sustainable development. It is also aware that the path toward sustainable development relies very extensively on Research and Development (R&D). In this context therefore, the following strategies will be given priority by Nigeria:
Utilization of appropriate technology to add value to the country’s commodities and other products in order to be more competitive;
Greater attention to be paid to the application of information and communication technology in every sector of the economy; and other generic technologies such as biotechnology and nanotechnology to be harnessed to develop critical sectors such as agriculture, energy and manufacturing;
Establishment of virile National Innovation Systems (NSIs) and charged with breakthrough in specific socio-economic priority areas such as education, health, agriculture and industry;
Encouragement of Nigerian Science Technology and Technology (ST&I) stakeholders to participate fully in international scientific programmes dealing with global environmental challenges;
Environmentally sound technologies that will protect the environment, and ensure greater efficiency in resource utilisation and management to be given priority attention;
Improvement of capabilities for determining scientific research priorities at the national, regional and global levels to meet the domestic needs of sustainable development;
Cooperation with the proposed UN System wide Technology Acquisition Advisory Networks which will include research centers, business association, financial institutions, export promotion bureau, equipment and raw materials supplies to ensure a rapid transformation of technological development in Nigeria;
Support and promotion of access to transfer of technology.
Nigeria reckons that for it to meet its development challenges and follow the path of sustainable development, it must focus its efforts at (i) creating demand for good governance including addressing socio-economic and political marginalisation that seem to fuel conflicts (ii) tackling poverty and reducing inequality through inclusive policies and people-centred development programmes, as well as addressing critical factors of poverty, underdevelopment, joblessness, and lack of economic diversification, (iii) promoting environmental sustainability; (iv) addressing the challenge of climate change, (v) greening various sectors of the economy to capitalize on emerging opportunities to leapfrog development, and (vi) massive investment in people to tap unto the latest potential offered by globalization and new information technology. To do this effectively, the government has:
Put in place policies and programmes aimed at fulfilling its commitment towards social progress, accelerated economic growth and increased environmental conservation;
Strengthened institutional and legal frameworks imperative for sustainable development;
Embarked on a number of initiatives for financing sustainable development; and
Support a number of implementation imperatives and mechanisms, particularly as they relate to governance, education and awareness creation, capacity building, multistakeholders’ participation and international and regional cooperation.
Sustainable development has been embedded in the planning process of the country since the
1990s. The National Vision 20:2020 document and its National Implementation Plans (NPC, 2010) explicitly recognizes the synergy between environment, health and development and identified as one of its core objectives the need for ensuring environmental sustainability of the development process through social mobilization and participation of people at all levels.
The Federal Government’s key priority policies, programmes and projects that will translate the Vision and the 1st National Implementation Plan into meaningful development in the country are captured in the government’s Transformation Agenda for the period 2011- 2015. The Agenda is based on a set of priority policies and programmes, which when implemented will ensure continuity, consistency and commitment of national development efforts that will transform the Nigerian Economy to meet the needs of the Nigerian people.
To translate the projects emanating from the Transformation Agenda into reality, a number of policy and regulatory enablers have been put in place, including laws, regulations, policies, public infrastructure, public services and international trade agreements that will facilitate the activities of economic agents, making it possible for them to be competitive, function optimally and operate profitably, while ensuring sustainable development. These laws will ensure that businesses can invest and operate in a private-sector led approach without the fear of losing out on opportunities to grow because of bureaucracy, poor market access or any other impediments. The rule of law will also guarantee property rights and contract enforcement which provide great impetus for growth of business and the contribution of businesses to economic growth.
The role of government would be mainly on creating the enabling environment aimed at facilitating sustainable development in the country. The actions will include (i) reduction in the length of time and cost of registering a business; (ii) simplification and harmonization of the tax systems and payment channels; (iii) reduction in the turnaround time and cost of obtaining building permits; (iv) ensuring easy access to affordable and long-term finance; and (v) expansion of IT infrastructure to facilitate easy access to internet and telecommunications services.
Nigeria recognizes the challenges of achieving sustainable development. The government is determined to address these challenges, and will ensure that environmental concerns are properly incorporated into its national, social and economic development efforts.
Nigeria advocates that necessary conditions must be established at the global and regional levels to make it possible for developing countries to move towards a “green economy” within the framework of the Rio Principles and Agenda 21. The tenets of “green economy” in the Rio + 20 Summit should be consistent with the sustainable development concept, principles and framework with continued focus on poverty reduction, which has remained a major global development challenge.