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Enhancing transparency systems in Africa’s largest economy: Lessons from Nigeria

17 February 2022

Nigeria has set ambitious climate goals: Nationally Determined Contribution (NDCs) targets which also seek to advance sustainable development – and could lead to billions in savings in the longer term – and a decarbonization objective for 2060. Transparency is a vital cornerstone to achieving these goals.

As Africa’s leading oil producer, and with a rapidly increasing population, Nigeria faces a distinct challenge in meeting increased energy needs, while decreasing its carbon footprint. To address this, Nigeria’s NDC targets outline a plan to cut emissions by 20% unconditionally and 47% conditionally by 2030, with a focus on the power/electricity, oil and gas, agriculture and land use, transport, and industry sectors.

I do not think anyone in Nigeria needs persuading of the need for urgent action on the environment. Desertification in the North, floods in the centre, pollution and erosion on the coast are enough evidence. For Nigeria, climate change is not about the perils of tomorrow but what is happening today. Nigeria is committed to net-zero by 2060,” said president Muhammadu Buhari at COP 26.

To support the Government of Nigeria, the Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT) provided technical support on the development and rollout of robust Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) systems in line with the Enhanced Transparency Framework of the Paris Agreement. The goal: to ensure that Nigeria can collect and manage the data needed to measure key policy impacts – like data on GHG levels – that help advance climate targets, mobilize green financing, and strengthen sustainable development.

An effective transparency system is crucial to plan implementation and track achievement of  Nigeria’s climate goals. Because it provides evidence to help identify what’s needed, what is working – and what gaps may exist.

A sectoral approach

The project, a first-of-its-kind for Nigeria, followed a holistic approach in enhancing the transparency framework across three key sectors: oil and gas, transport, and agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU). The project focused on establishing MRV systems for the NDC indicators and then integrating these sectoral systems into an overarching national MRV system. The NDC indicators were derived from an impact assessment of the country’s existing policies and measures. This approach not only equipped policymakers with important monitoring tools allowing for effective policy implementation, but also made available an estimate of the sustainable development benefits associated with the selected policies. Thus, for example, mitigation measures for the Nigerian road transport sector alone have been estimated to result in USD 41bn of economic benefits:

  • Annual economic benefits of mitigation measures set out in the unconditional scenario rise to USD 5.7bn (NGN 2.4tr) by 2030;
  • Cumulative quantified benefits over the NDC period are USD 41.2bn (NGN 17tr);
  • Fuel savings account for the largest economic benefits, followed by reduced congestion and air pollution health impact.

“The ICAT project commenced with stakeholder consultations and review of policy documents, followed by a gaps and needs analysis for the focused sectors leading to the development of an overarching MRV Institutional Arrangement and development of NDC Indicators/tools for tracking the Paris Agreement and other climate actions going forward” said Dr Bala Bappa, ICAT Project In-Country Project Facilitator/National Coordinator.

This process led to the adoption of a series of reports and recommendations comprising proposed institutional arrangements for MRV systems and recommendations on measuring the country’s NDC targets. The publications also underlined specific sectoral challenges – and the dedicated actions taken to help overcome these, including:

  • The establishment of data sharing agreements within the AFOLU sector between the Department of Climate Change and relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies;
  • In the oil and gas sector – an area that accounts for over half of the country’s federally collected revenue – proposed institutional arrangements were designed to tackle key sectoral shortcomings, such as data flow and stakeholder engagement, ultimately creating a stronger foundation for the rollout of MRV systems.

“Despite the international COVID situation, this project has shown very good cooperation among stakeholders from the different sectors. National consultants have developed and validated the sectoral and overarching MRV system with national experts from the ministries, agencies, etc. to allow their applicability and efficiency in monitoring and reporting. The ICAT tool “TRACE” was applied to the road transport sector to estimate co-benefits of the NDC policies. All the work carried out through this project will ease the transition to a low carbon economy once the systems will be officially endorsed,” said Julien Vincent (CITEPA), project manager for the ICAT Nigeria project.

Next steps 

ICAT is pleased to continue the collaboration with Nigeria. The first phase of the project has shown how data can support effective planning to enable ambitious climate targets that are in sync with the needs of the population,” said Dr. Henning Wuester, ICAT Director. 

Moving forward, ICAT and the Government of Nigeria are exploring further areas of work, including:

  • Adding all missing sectors to the MRV framework so that it encompasses all relevant economic activities;
  • Developing a framework to plan, measure and track a process that ensures a just transition of the economy, including that the needs of workers are taken care of, when climate policies are implemented.

​​The ICAT project is coming at a time when the Government of Nigeria is vigorously pursuing her commitment to the Paris Agreement. I therefore urge everyone and every sector to brace up and join the chariot and effectively contribute their quota to address the climate change challenge.” – Dr Iniobong-Abiola Awe, Director, Department of Climate Change Nigeria. 



Enhancing transparency systems in Africa’s largest economy: Lessons from Nigeria

Nigeria’s Phase II project validation workshop on the 17th of February 2022 was featured as part of the nationwide news broadcast on NTA News.

For more information about ICAT’s work in Nigeria, please contact the ICAT Secretariat.