Flood prevention: 7 things national and regional decision makers should do

Perennial flooding has devastating effects on the lives and livelihoods of communities in Nigeria. However, there are seven things decision makers in the country can do for effective flood risk and prevention, according to an environmentalist, GboyegaOlorunfemi.

Olorunfemi, who was a guest on a recent tweetchat organised by International Climate Change Development Initiative Africa (ICCDI), spoke on “Flood Risks & Climate Change: A National & Regional Perspective.

Responding to the question on recommendations for national and regional decision-makers on flood risk and prevention, he said:

“Governments will need to prioritize policy coherence, overcome inter-agency silos and align existing rules and regulations towards achieving the goals that are interlinked across ministries — a national tool kit accessible on a click.”

Secondly, “Government should stick to the Paris Agreement National Determined Contribution (NDCs) and Sendai Framework to establish Disaster Risk Governance.”

Thirdly, “Establish diverse tailored, innovative and adaptive approaches to solving problems, using science to support decision-making and develop early-warning systems that can pick up and authenticate weak signals.”

Olorunfemi, the Principal Consultant with Enviromax Global Resources Limited, added that, “Our national, state and local policy and budget planning must be transparent and rigorous to encourage citizen participation to capture history and native intelligence for flood signals.

“Governments should incorporate targets and indicators like the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into national plans and budgets, formulate policies and programmes to achieve them, and create tracking system as well as systems for monitoring and evaluation.

In his sixth and seventh points, he stated that “The government must now build the capacity of regulators on technical know-how to be able to keep up with scientific advances, create sharing platform that is accessible to all – a transition to the digital ecosystem,” and that “The government should mainstream risk reduction into existing urban planning, management and practices, conduct periodic urban risk assessments and understand who the most vulnerable communities and individuals are and what drives their vulnerability.”

Also speaking on how to advance national plans to save lives and properties during flooding, the environmentalist stated that “The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) has the statutory mandate to issue yearly forecasts for flood management in Nigeria. How it carries out its function with others I may not know but one thing I want to know is — these reports must be available and accessible.

“In advancing holistic national plans in the wake of many realities, we must rethink the acts that establish our agencies with clarity of purpose, have deliberate proactive measures and not reactive responses to hazards.

“We have Federal Ministry of Environment (FMEnv), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), National Metrological Service for Nigeria (NiMET), Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), Federal Ministry of Water Resources to work with all research-based institutions including National Orientation Agency (NOA) to develop a National Climate Change Adaptation Plans for each of the 774 LGAs, in a bottom-up approach.”



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