Association of City Managers in Nigeria (ACMAN), organised another city walk in Minna, Niger State, Nigeria, on 16th October, 2021.

The walk was in celebration of World Habitat Day #WHD, as part of the global Urban October activities, and a sequel to the City walk organised in Abuja, The federal Capital Territory of Nigeria.

The Walk took place from Tunga and ended at the Minna Southern City Gate.

In preparation of the World Cities Day 2021, Association of City Managers in Nigeria (ACMAN), in partnership with Search FM 92.3 Campus Radio, Federal University of Technology, Minna, organised a radio conversation on Adapting Cities, for Climate Resilience.

Present at the Interview were: TPL. Godswill Unekwuojo Musa, Secretary General, ACMAN; Arc. Nathan Danladi, Immediate past PRO, ACMAN; and Fatima Abubakar, Member ACMAN

Among the issues raised during the conversation were: Climate change, effects of climate change, climate change resilience and adapting Nigerian cities to climate resilience.

Download the conversation bellow


TPL. Godswill Unekwuojo Musa, Giving his Address, during Abuja City Walk.

Climate Change

Climate change is the long-term change in global weather patterns, associated especially with increases in temperature, precipitation, and storm activity. From 1906-2005, the average global temperature rose by 0.74ºC, with most of that warming occurring since 1970. By 2015, the average global temperature had warmed by over 1ºC since pre-industrial times. Sixteen of the 17 warmest years on record have been in 21st century.

A dominant environmental problem associated with climate change in the last three decades is global warming. It is an increase in Earth’s average surface temperature, mostly due to the release of greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), water vapour, Nitrous oxide NO2, chloro-floro-carbons (CFCs), among others, into the atmosphere by human-induced activities such as increased fossil fuel consumption.

The main causes of climate change

Human’s increased use of fossil fuels – such as coal, oil and gas to generate electricity, transportation and power industries

Deforestation – because living trees absorb and store carbon dioxide

Increasingly intensive agriculture – which emits greenhouse gases like methane and nitrous oxide

Industrialization – Various countries including Nigeria have built their economies on burning fossil fuels to provide electricity, transport and to develop industries.

The effects of climate change

  • Rising temperatures
  • Rising sea levels
  • Higher ocean temperatures
  • An increase in heavy precipitation (heavy rain and hail)
  • Shrinking glaciers
  • Drought

The indirect consequences of climate change, which directly affect us humans and our environment

  • An increase in hunger and water crises, especially in developing countries
  • Economic implications of dealing with secondary damage related to climate change
  • Health risks through rising air temperatures and heatwaves
  • Loss of biodiversity due to limited adaptability and adaptability speed of flora and fauna 
  • Ocean acidification due to increased Bicarbonate (HCO3) concentrations in the water as a consequence of increased CO₂ concentrations
  • Increasing spread of pests and pathogens
  • The need for adaptation in all areas (e.g. agriculture, forestry, energy, infrastructure, tourism, etc.)

Climate change is evident in increase in the occurrences of drought, desertification, rising sea levels, erosions, floods, thunderstorms, bush fires, landslides, radiation, and loss of biodiversity.

Need for Accelerating Urban Action for A Carbon-Free World

Today, cities account for about 75 per cent of the world’s energy consumption and are responsible for over 70 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The way cities are planned, built and managed, is key to reducing carbon emissions and keeping global warming within the limits set by the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The mission of Association of City Managers in Nigeria (ACMAN) is to promote equitable, liveable and sustainable cities for enhanced quality of life and healthy environment in Nigeria.

This is incidentally in line with The United Nation’s Agenda for Sustainable Development, and Sustainable Development Goal 11 “to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” puts sustainable urbanization as one of the key priorities of the global agendas for development.

World Habitat Day (WHD) highlights the state of our towns and cities, as well as the basic right of adequate shelter for all. It also reminds us we all have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of our cities, towns, and communities. This year’s theme is Accelerating urban action for a carbon-free world.

This City walk was organized by the ACMAN, in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria, in Celebration of world Habitat Day, as part of the global Urban October activities, is because there is a need for Accelerating urban action for a carbon-free world.

Actions for A Carbon-Free World

It has been estimated that GHG emissions from cities can be reduced by almost 90 per cent by 2050 using technically feasible, widely available mitigation measures. This means that city actions can potentially reduce global emissions by over 70 per cent.

A suggested by UNHABITAT, Reduction in global emission can be achieved through a combination of measures that target the urban form in expanding cities as well as the buildings, transport, material efficiency and waste management sectors.

Urban planning can steer urban growth towards low carbon urban development through advancing climatefriendly urban forms (compact, mixed land-use and connected and accessible cities) geared towards reducing vehicular trips and instead, encouraging the use of non-motorized transport such as walking and cycling.

Public and green areas play a key role as carbon sinks, in regulating temperature and reducing urban heat-island effects. Simultaneously, measures can be taken to improve access to basic services while reducing their carbon footprint. These could include better water demand management, waste-water treatment through nature-based solutions, better municipal waste management and material recovery, uptake of micro-grids, renewable energy and net-metering, retrofitting buildings to improve their energy efficiency, promoting a transition to shared and public transport and the uptake of electric mobility.

Other specific activities for accelerating urban action for a carbon-free world at individual levels should include to:

  • Plant trees
  • Reduce cutting trees
  • Reduce paper waste
  • Use electronic media
  • Use solar energy
  • Use energy saving bulbs
  • Turn off the lights not in use
  • Use public transportation often
  • Reduce air pollution
  • Recycle your waste
  • Save water from waste
  • Harvest rainwater
  • Don’t build on floodplains
  • Properly dispose waste

Together we can achieve accelerate A Carbon-Free World.

Thank you.

TPL Godswill Unekwuojo Musa, presenting his speech

Association of City Managers in Nigeria (ACMAN), organised a city walk in Abuja, The federal Capital Territory of Nigeria, in celebration of World Habitat Day #WHD on 4th of October 2021, as part of the global Urban October activities.

The Walk was led by TPL. Godswill Unekwuojo Musa, Secretary General of ACMAN, and took place from the central area of Abuja and ended at the Abuja City Gate, 1 Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Road. An address was presented at the Abuja City Gate by the Secretary General on Need for Accelerating Urban Action for A Carbon-Free World.

You can read the Address here Need for Accelerating Urban Action for A Carbon-Free World; An Address by TPL. Godswill Unekwuojo Musa, Secretary General, Association of City Managers in Nigeria (ACMAN), During A City Walk in Celebration of World Habitat Day 2021, At the City Gate, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria. – ASSOCIATION OF CITY MANAGERS IN NIGERIA

Urban October was developed to raise awareness, promote participation, generate knowledge and engage the international community towards a New Urban Agenda, in 31 days of promoting a Better Urban Future. Urban October starts with World Habitat Day (First Monday of the Month) and ends with World Cities Day on 31st October.

World Habitat Day (WHD) highlights the state of our towns and cities, as well as the basic right of adequate shelter for all. It also reminds us we all have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of our cities, towns, and communities. This year’s theme is Accelerating urban action for a carbon-free world.

The City walk was filled with interesting interractions with passers by especially in communicating the placards that reads: plant trees, reduce cutting trees, reduce paper waste, use electronic media. Another placard reads: use solar energy, use energy saving bulbs, turn off the lights not in use, use public transportation often, reduce air pollution. The third one reads: recycle your waste, save water from waste, harvest rainwater, don’t build on floodplains, properly dispose waste.

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Lagos Ikoyi Lions Club Zone 1A August 2021 Service Activity is tagged Engaging the Youth on the importance of Proper Waste Disposal using the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) took place on 25th August, 2021 in commemoration of International Youth Day 2021.

A talk and demonstration on the importance of waste management using the 3Rs segregation method was delivered. The talk and demonstration was delivered by Mr Victor Adedeji representing the Managing Director of the Lagos Waste Management Authority Iddo Yard, ijora Olopa (LAWMA) Mr. Ibrahim Odumboni.

The event took place in the School hall of Master Moulder International Academy at Plot 4, Ajiun lane, Lekki, Lagos. About 55 students and teachers were in attendance From Master Moulders International Academy and Lekki Peninsula College.

At the end of the talk and demonstration Lagos Ikoyi Lions Club presented a waste segregation station to the school, while LAWMA donated recyclable purple waste plastic bags

The Youth got valuable lessons that hopefully will make the Environment a better place for all of us, and Importantly, this particular talk was carefully chosen because of the Lions concern in protecting the environment being one of the five global cause areas of Lions Club International.

Ezekiel Ufuoma Lucky

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The world has changed and the environment the home of man has suffered severe challenges due to the activities mostly carried out by man. Urbanization, environmental pollution, desertification, indiscriminate refuse dumping, burning of fossil fuels and a host of others, have plagued the earth, most of which have contributed to climate change thereby creating more problems than ever before.

From air, land and water pollution to acid rain and the depletion of the ozone layer leading to intense heat during the day, man has faced the pains and the pangs of these environmental problems and the environment have also suffered its share of the problems.

Practical Strategies for Improving the Environment

With the ever-increasing problems of the earth, some strategies can be employed to help regain nature and fight the existing current challenges.

  • Building Resilient Cities through the principles of “Green Urbanism”.

Green Urbanism makes every effort to minimize the use of energy, water and materials at each stage of the city’s or district’s life-cycle, including the embodied energy in the extraction and transportation of materials, their fabrication, their assembly into the buildings and, ultimately, the ease and value of their recycling when an individual building’s life is over [1].

It is a holistic concept of sustainable urban systems and interconnected features, enabling existence and change (growth or shrinkage) without negatively impacting planetary life support systems and ecosystems [2].

Most existing city patterns give room for the growth of slums and other environmental challenges which contributes to climate change. Applying the principles of green urbanism by introducing the artificial elements of man such that all engineering works are inbuilt into the natural elements, instead of destroying the natural can help to save mother nature, help in the fight against climate change, achieve renewable energy for zero CO2 emissions and the creation of zero-waste city through proper waste management techniques using the 3 R’s (reduce, reuse and recycle).

Source: Steffen (2014)
  • Proper water management is key to achieving water security. The existing water channels/paths should be cleared and free from dirts and other elements which will prevent proper flow of water and ensuring the wetlands are safe to purify and recycle grey water [2]. This will help to combat some of the existing ills of flooding and erosion threat in a lot of places.
  • The use of natural elements of nature through landscaping, gardens, green roofs and biodiversity such that there is a correlation between these elements should be encouraged as this will help to bring people closer to nature.
  • The use of local materials which are recyclable and uses less embodied energy should be used in construction projects. These materials should encourage the development of green buildings which would help in creating liveable communities, providing local food for the urban populace while at the same time combating the ills of climate change. 
  • In the area of transportation, the use of eco-mobility such that there is less reliance on fossil-fuel driven vehicles and more emphasis placed on the use of solar powered vehicles and shared public transportation systems which are efficient, convenient and reduces the need for privately owned vehicles should be encouraged. This will help to reduce traffic congestion and the release of CO2 into the atmosphere.
  • Government should be intentional in the creation of liveable cities. They should team up with the necessary environmental experts to ensure cities created are liveable, sustainable and self-sufficient to counter the ills of the existing problems generated by cities of today. The government should innovate public policy, roll-out incentives and subsidise the clean-tech sector, create public–private partnerships to facilitate change, involve community groups and NGOs [2] in the development process, such that everyone is carried along. Strict development control measures should be carried out by the Urban Planners to ensure developments are strictly followed in order to achieve sustainable development in our cities.
  • The use of renewable energy sources such as solar and geo-thermal energy for electricity, cooking and other energy generated activities should be encouraged. More researches should be embarked on in order to improve these renewable energy sources.
  • The protection of cultural heritage should be encouraged by protecting existing structures; demand and facilitate more adaptive re-use by relaxing the building code [2].
  • An all-inclusive and sustainable planning for economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all should be encouraged. Planning for flattening the curve should be at the heart of urban planning, with a conscious thinking strategically about resilient planning approaches for the long-term to ‘build back better’ [3] our cities. This is an obvious opportunity for planners to fully incorporate climate-action, redefining green space in cities and revisiting the way city centres are designed for business [3].
  • Cities should adapt to changing ways people work, travel and shop. Four essential avenues to rethink cities are through new housing standards to make people safer and healthier, promoting active travel through non-motorized transport, improving green spaces and reshaping City centres [3]. Cities should be designed to encourage walking and cycling by making footpaths wider and safer through the creation of proper security measures.
Source: Olamuyiwa (2020)
  • Integrated Urban Services (IUS) which is the provision of weather, climate, hydrology and air quality infrastructure that may be used to support traditional urban services [4] should be initiated in cities to help understand hazards in order to take the necessary measures to avoid such.
  • Communication is key to achieving quality environment. We live in a digital era where communication is at everyone fingertips. Environmentalists, media, government agencies, NGOs, CBOs and others should engage in enlightenment campaigns to inform people of the ills and dangers involved in human-based activities critically affecting the environment negatively. This should be continuous and government should encourage this by placing sanctions and punishment for offenders so as to deter others from engaging in such.
  • Afforestation and the consciousness of planting of trees should be encouraged. Various bodies who are interested in the environment should encourage this through volunteering, campaigns, school visitation (especially to those in primary and secondary schools) to create the consciousness in the minds of people on the need for combating climate change through afforestation measures.
  • The indiscriminate dumping of refuse on roads, open spaces and water bodies should be discouraged. Government should create mechanisms to encourage recycling of waste materials in order to save the natural resources as well as the environment.


This world is changing but we must protect the earth, as it is the only home for man at the present time. The work has shown that various strategies can be put in place to save the earth and it all starts with you and me.


[1]L. Steffen, “What is Green Urbanism? Holistic Principles to Transform Cities for Sustainability,” in Climate Change – Research and Technology for Adaptation and Mitigation, 2011.
[2]L. Steffen, “Low carbon districts: Mitigating the urban heat island with green roof infrastructure,” City, Culture and Society, vol. 5, pp. 1-8, 2014.
[3]O. Olamuyiwa, “Post Covid Building Resilience: The Role of Planners in theCommonwealth,” 2020. [Online]. Available:
[4]H. Stefaine, “City Requirements for Integrated Climate, Hydrology and Environment Services,” UN-Habitat, 2020.

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Sustainable development is defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (Our Common Future, 1987) The 1972 UN conference in Stockholm highlighted the concerns for preserving and enhancing the environment and its biodiversity to ensure human rights to a healthy and productive world. Sustainable development calls for concerted efforts towards building an inclusive, sustainable and resilient future for people and planet.

Sustainable cities, urban sustainability, or eco-city (also ecocity) is a city designed with consideration for social, economic, environmental impact (commonly referred to as the triple bottom line), and resilient habitat for existing populations, without compromising the ability of future generations to experience the same. The UN Sustainable Development Goal 11 defines sustainable cities as those that are dedicated to achieving Green Sustainability, social sustainability and economic sustainability. They are committed to doing so by enabling opportunities for all through a design focused on inclusivity as well as maintaining a sustainable economic growth.

The focus also includes minimizing required inputs of energy, water, and food, and drastically reducing waste, output of heat, air pollution – CO2, methane, and water pollution. Richard Register first coined the term ecocity in his 1987 book Ecocity Berkeley: Building Cities for a Healthy Future, where he offers innovative city planning solutions that would work anywhere.

For sustainable development to be achieved, it is crucial to harmonies three core elements: economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection. These elements are interconnected and are all crucial for the well–being of individuals and societies.

The “green living” which is a major factor of sustainable development means embracing a way of life that helps preserve the environment by reducing, reusing, and recycling items. Going green concept is learning and practicing an environmentally-mindful lifestyle that contributes towards protecting the environment and preservation and conservation of the natural resources, habitats, and biodiversity.

The aim of green environment is to:

  • Reduce pollution.
  • Reduce resources consumption and eliminate wastes.
  • Conserve natural resources and forests.
  • Maintain the natural ecological balance on earth so that all living things can survive and thrive in their natural habitat.


Contrary to many opinions that states that going green or other factors of sustainable development is majorly in favour of the environment, it is very important to note that it is equally beneficial to the inhabitants of the environment (Humans). Anything that affects the environment affects all humans and other living organisms, hence the need to make sure that the interest of the environment is taken into consideration in whatever developmental process is to occur. The three major areas of benefit of the green environment/ green living are;

Economic Benefits

A significant economic benefit of going green is that it helps lower costs and save money. Use of renewable energy helps reduce energy consumption which in turn is an advantage in conserving monetary resources used on electricity bills. An apparent benefit of going green at home is that it helps reduce water and power bills significantly. It is possible when we reduce water consumption for example if we run the washing machines full loads or add water-saving appliances in shower and washrooms.

Recycling is another way aspect of green environment and green living. Recyclable products last longer than other products which can save on money used for repair and maintenance. When we recycle products as well as create Do-it-Yourself (DIY) items, we not only reduce wastage, but we also become more creative which helps create new products consistently and thus reduce the cost of buying new products.

These processes are beneficial to households as units and to the nations and regions as a whole, resources are well utilized and cost of production will be reduced drastically.

Health Benefits

The second aspect in which sustainable development through green environment affect positively is the health benefits on humans and other living organisms. Going green reduces air pollutants which in turn affects the atmospheric and living condition of humans and other living organisms.

According to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), air pollution causes around 2 million premature deaths every year globally. It’s therefore essential to strive for green living because it affects the living condition of as well as productivity and efficiency of humans.

One way to go green is through the purchase of eco-friendly household and cosmetic products. It reduces chemicals and toxins in the atmospheric condition, which in turn reduces air pollution and environmental toxins that could affect the body’s immune system that fights infections, and that could cause exposure to diseases and fatal illnesses.


Environmental benefits

This is an important aspect in which sustainable/green living emphasizes on due to its direct effect on humans. When the environment is in a good condition then the inhabitants enjoy the benefits and vice versa. Going green through organic farming means responsible farming practices and land use. Organic farming reduces greenhouse gases emission and thus lowers air pollution.

Going green can help save the rainforests and thus preserve the animal habitat and ecosystem. The destruction of the ecosystem that offers nature goods and services for all living things means there may be loses on the many natures powerful products including those that could offer humankind health benefits. Green environment is a major agent in the purification of the atmosphere.

The importance of sustainable development through green living cannot be over emphasized as its effect goes beyond just the existing generation but also includes the coming generations. It I therefore of great necessity that we consume all resources in the most efficient way possible while putting the environment, our health and the coming generation into consideration. The symbiotic relationship between man and its environment increases the efficiency and effectiveness of man and the environment itself, therefore, for a city and its development to be sustainable, it is of high necessity to embrace the green living.

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Abubakar Sadiq

The Earth’s environment is a dynamic system which includes many interacting components (physical, chemical, biological and human) that are constantly changing. The interactions and feedbacks among these components are complex and register high variability in time and space. Changes have always been present within the functioning of planet earth. But since 1950, human activities have produced an important impact in the Earth system (land surface, oceans, coasts, atmosphere, biological diversity, water cycle and biogeochemical cycles) causing changes well beyond natural variability (Vitousek 1992, Foley 2005, Levitus et al. 2012). The magnitude of these changes is increasing throughout the years due to the growing human population and the extension in scale of activities such as industry and agriculture.

After the industrial revolution, the world witnessed an increased gathering of its population in urban areas, as new job opportunities and improved living conditions increase. The 20th century witnessed the extreme and unprecedented growth of global urbanization. This trend is not new, but relentless and has been marked by a remarkable increase in the absolute numbers of urban dwellers, from a yearly average of 57 million between 1990-2000 to 77 million between 2010-2015 (MacLachlan, Biggs, Roberts and Boruff, 2017).

According to UN-Habitat (2016), the population in urban areas has increased from 14% in 1900 to 30% in 1950.With the world’s population evenly split between urban and rural areas in 2008, it is predicted by the UN that by 2050 the urban population will increase again to 66%with nearly 90% of this increase being concentrated in Asian and African cities. Nigeria alone is projected to add 212 million urban dwellers between 2014 and 2050. Whereas cities are hubs for positive social and economic transformation, urban centres are concentrations of industries, transportation, and other activities that release large quantities of greenhouse gases (Kara 2017).

An urban area is an area with an increased density of human created structures in comparison to the areas surrounding it (Enoguanbhor et al, 2019). These areas may be cities or towns, created and further developed by the process of urbanization. Urban areas are highly dynamic and are continually undergoing rapid changes, one of which is changes observed in land-use/land-cover (LULC) also known as land change. The knowledge of land use/land cover change is important to understanding certain occurrences on the earth’s biophysical composition. It entails a conversion of natural types of land to uses associated with growth of population and economy, transforming the landscape from its natural form to impervious urban lands termed cities and towns.

According to Hansen (2012), cities are the quintessence of man’s capacity to induce and control changes in his habitat. Through urbanization, man has created new ecosystems by interacting with the different components of the environment, thereby creating some imbalance in the system. This goes to say that urbanization is not without its consequences; most notable is the modification of land surface and atmospheric boundary conditions that lead to a modified thermal climate which leaves the cities warmer than surrounding non urbanized areas, commonly known as Urban Heat Island.

Birnin Kebbi land use and land cover change

Birnin-Kebbi is the administrative headquarters of Kebbi State. The total population of the city in 2006 was 268,620 and an estimated population of 366,200 in the 2016 demographic statistics released by the National Bureau of statistics, (NBS, 2016). The rate of urbanisation in the state has being largely influenced by the fast growing population. Despite having a Master Plan, the unchecked and uncontrolled development has led to the replacement of soil and vegetation cover with impervious urban materials and the creation of slums and squatter settlements. These may, directly or indirectly, affect the albedo and runoff characteristics of the land surface.

Land use and land cover change is a constant but gradual process occurring in any geographical location on the earth surface. This process may sometimes occur unnoticed over time and space. The Birnin-Kebbi land use and land cover analysis was examined using multi-temporal Landsat images between 1991 and 2018. The results (figure 3a) show that in 1991, with a population of 119,000 (UN-WPP, 2019) inhabitants, the urban/built-up areas were concentrated in the north-western part of the local government, with some isolated settlements in the other parts; development generally, was few and far between.

The urban/built up class covered only 1.4% (1,687 hectares) of the total land area. The low urban spread in 1991 is largely attributed to the fact that Birnin-Kebbi at this period was just elevated to the capital of a newly created state (Kebbi State), from Sokoto State. Also, vegetation covered 73,030 ha (58.5%), water body covered 0.04%, about 9,270 ha (7.4%) of the total land was used for agricultural purpose while bare land covered 40,773 ha (32.7%).

In 2000, (figure 3b), the population increased to 160,000 people (UN-WPP, 2019). The pattern of urban distribution indicates a gradual spread in the built up areas from the north-western part of the state capital, moving towards the western part in a linear pattern. There was also a rapid development of settlements in the southern part of the state capital. This led to the overall increase in the percentage of built up area in the year 2000 to 3.4% of the total land coverage. Also, vegetation covered 46.3%, water body covered 0.02%, and agricultural land covered 32.2% while bare ground covered 18.2%.


The growth in the built up area and agriculture is expected to come largely from bare ground and vegetation. This is because of the continuous increase in population due to migration and natural process, and the high demand on fuel wood for cooking energy (see plate II). So, the over dependent on fuel wood will lead to the destruction of vegetation. Similarly, the drive to make Nigeria self-sufficient in rice production will have a direct impact on vegetation, water body and bare ground in the future, as Kebbi state and Birnin Kebbi, in particular, is the major contributor to the total rice production in Nigeria.


It was discovered that there had been a steady increase in the rate of urbanisation and agricultural land (farmland) in the study area, with a corresponding decrease in vegetation cover and bare ground. The 2027 projection shows a similar trend and this is not environmentally sustainable.


There is a need to sensitive and re-orientate the people of Birnin Kebbi about the effect of using firewood as a source of cooking energy and it impact on climate change. The conscious reduction in the use of firewood for other sustainable alternatives like the LPG and electricity can lead to low patronage in the wood selling business and ultimately save the trees in the forest.

Sustainable skills development programmes, financial opportunity or material loans in terms of micro-credit schemes should be initiated by the government, through a coordinating ministry or NGO to provide LPG cooking system for private individuals and commercial food vendors at an interest-free loan to enable them stop the use of firewood.

The state government started a laudable project of planting trees within the urban areas in 2006-2007, this trees compensated for the loss in vegetation cover to farmland, leading to a small loss in vegetation between 2000 – 2009. The government should continue this project and encourage private organisations and individuals to plant trees. Primary and secondary school pupils can be motivated to plant a “Tree of Life” in their school environment.

The rate of land conversion from vegetation to agricultural purposes needs to be controlled, and more sustainable system of farming introduced.

Deliberate measures to control natural increase in population: if nothing is done to ensure a sustainable population size in the study area, all other effort to make Birnin Kebbi a sustainable city will be ineffective. The government need to synergize with Gate foundation, UNICEF and other aid organisation to invest more in the state in the area of family planning, education, poverty alleviation and green technology to improve child survival rate and ensure sustainable development.

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As the world searches for solutions to global climate change, tree planting has become increasingly popular, with ambitious campaigns aiming to plant billions or trillions of trees. These projects often have other environmental goals, too, like regulating water cycles, halting soil erosion and restoring wildlife habitat. They also often have socioeconomic goals, like alleviating poverty.

Based on UNEP Recommendations, Countries need to deliver on their existing commitments to restore 1 billion hectares of degraded land and make similar commitments for marine and coastal areas. Ecosystem restoration is one of the most important ways of delivering nature-based solutions for food insecurity, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and biodiversity loss. It won’t be quick or easy, and it will take deep changes to everything from the way we measure economic progress to how we grow food and what we eat. But the beauty of ecosystem restoration is that it can happen at any scale – and everyone has a role to play.

An effective way of achieving tree planting is engaging civil society organisations and Kaura Namoda Youth Alliance for Good Governance (KYAGG) have exemplified this through engaging themselves in road side tree planting in Nigeria.

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Esv. Dr. Aminu G. Waziri, PhD, ANIVS, RSV, CSPM, FOSHA

Head, Department of Building, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Nigerian Army University, Biu, Borno State.


Apparently, the goals of sustainable development are designed for complementarities in the trio of environmental – economic – social dimensions. Part of the policy thrust is to ensure that no one is left behind while implementing one or more of these components. Pro – environmental practices and initiatives has been on the rise globally (Waziri et al., 2015). Developing countries are onsistently challenged on the circumstances surrounding the enablers and determinants of environmental protection policy process (Keeley and Scoones, 1999). The inefficiencies with environmental management strategies and systems especially on solid waste (Agunwamba, 1998), has consistently exposed most Nigerian cities to environmental pollution. This is because of widespread indiscriminate dumping of garbage on the streets (Sridhar et al., 2017). Lagos, which is Africa’s largest city, and Nigeria’s commercial center generates about 13,000 metric tons of solid waste per day (LAWMA, 2015). This figure is higher than that of New York City and about 3 times that of Ghana as a country (Ogunbiyi, 2018). The inefficiency of the prevailing waste management strategy and the exposure of the city to environmental pollution constrained Lagos State Government to devise a policy change on waste management.

The “Cleaner Lagos Initiative” (CLI) was conceived and launched in the last quarter of 2017 by the Lagos State Government as a modern solid waste management policy. The policy target was to make the city environmentally friendly, boost economic fortune and create job opportunities with a target to become Africa’s greenest city by the year 2025. The initiative was a government led policy with the involvement of Private Sector Participants (PSP’s) and covers all aspects of solid waste management. Waste management stakeholders workshop convened by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2006 recommended among others, the Integrated Waste Management (IWM) approach in collaboration with the private sector (Sridhar, et al. 2017). Notwithstanding, the policy incited a conflict arising from the marginalized perspectives of waste pickers, scavengers, field laborers’ emoluments and inordinate collection and disposal mechanism. This article explores the listed issues:

a. Is the CLI in conformity with sustainable development paradigm?

b. Are the CLI goals realisable through the existing policy framework?

c. What impacts for marginalised informal sector value chain?

To achieve these, a syntheses of policy process discourses, and the STEPS pathways approach be used to show how political power relations shape sustainable development policies. This article examines CLI with reference to the 3D’s of Direction, Diversity and Distribution.


Sesan, (2018) observes that, the CLI process neither consulted public nor sought the input of key waste management stakeholders and operators. It is a government led, linear top – bottom approach which came into effect through executive order. Though, CLI was primarily designed as an environmental sustainability policy, its focus pointed to three main directions:environmental sanity through Integrated Waste Management System (IWMS), economic prosperity through waste to wealth generation and social security in form of job creation, that all points to the policy direction of change. However, the policy eventually narrows mostly to economic gains which is not only inconsistent but negates the principles of plurality in sustainable development, by focusing on neo-classical economic agenda, placing high premium on economic return. It did not consider key industry players at its inception and did not allow for multi- perspectives direction that encompasses every interest as it should with the STEPS pathways. Direction for sustainability policy should be consistent, reliable and democratically designed for optimum and satisfactory outcome.


This implies a multi-dimensional but interrelated approach to sustainability (Stirling, 2007). In the context of CLI policy, diversity suggests that there are multiple approaches for the implementation of the policy that is able to moderate the complicity and intricate nature of the solid waste management approach. In contrast the diversity approach however, the core implementation of the CLI policy was left to the Private Sector Participants (PSP’s) and private firms. For instance, Visionscape was in charge of waste collection/disposal and the resuscitation and management of dumpsites in Lagos State while the Lagos State Government, through the Ministry of Environment (MoE) and Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), were to regulate and enforce the policy and collects waste from public places respectively. This system makes the entire CLI initiative to be ‘locked-in’, thereby making it impossible for diverse pathways of multiple actors and strategies. This was evident by the non-inclusion of other form of sustainable waste processing guidelines such as reduce, reuse and recycle (3R’s) at source. In addition, the input of traditional waste management value chain at the dumpsites was excluded.

For example, multiple opportunities presented by waste in agrarian developing countries such as the utilization as local manure for crop production was not explored. It is well observed that, governments in the global south tend to pay limited attention to waste minimization resulting into all waste being evacuated to the dumpsites with an overwhelming increase in the cost of logistics (Jessica, 2015). Appreciating and integrating the diversity dimension approach on the CLI policy is important if key industry stakeholders are required to make input towards the realization of the policy objectives.

Distribution: This assesses the CLI using the lens of distribution, which promotes just and equitable arrangements and categorization of opportunities. The CLI has limited approach as conventional and informal sector were not fully and clearly integrated, thus exacerbating the tendencies for poverty and hunger among marginalized groups. The policy framework promoted inequality as the means of livelihood of more than 3000 families became threatened, which prompted protests seeking for redress by the affected groups. However, Stirling, (2010) contends that, any approach with a resultant effect of poverty as an outcome is difficult to manage. In the case under review, opportunities were not given to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) who were hitherto part of the prior waste management for loan guarantees, as was issued to the few selected PSPs, hence edging them out of the business.

Assessment through Social, Technological and Environmental (STEPS) Pathways to Sustainability:

The STEPS pathway requires multi-dimensional approach to addressing sustainability issues. This includes cost-benefit-analysis, application of enhanced innovative technologies as well as socio- economic cohesion applicable within the context of CLI. Developing countries are consistently challenged on the circumstances surrounding the enablers and determinants of environmental protection policy process (Keeley and Scoones, 1999). These factors need to be clearly identified and explored, if meaningful waste management policies are to be realized. CLI policy has left key industry players either partially or completely displaced from their primary source of livelihood. Researchers across the globe appreciates the need for all-inclusive participation as a tool for sustainable waste management (Marello and Helwege 2014). The policy predicated on environmental concerns, and for political power to appease their subjects by making them to be seen as solution providers, as evident in the whole process.

The influence of the Federal Government on the policy is felt through the waste management stakeholders workshop convened in 2006 which recommended among others, the Integrated Waste Management (IWM) approach in collaboration with the private sector (Sridhar, et al. 2017). The CLI has limited the key operators of the IWM to Government and some PSPs without due recourse to the input of informal sectors with decades of experience in the waste management value chain. For instance, the activities of waste pickers, trucks drivers and scavengers on the dumpsite have impacted significantly unto the lives of their families. They depend on these activities to provide their basic necessities such as food, shelter, and clothing for their families and also send their children to school while meeting other social and economic needs. The policy which sought to displace these informal sector participants did not consider multiple and sustainable pathways to integrate these classes including access to funding.

Furthermore, the STEPS also suggests that government, through its various participating agencies should play the role of coordinator and regulator, relinquishing most of the implementation strategy to the private sectors. There is no clear sustainable road map on how jobs will be created and, how affected community will be carried along. This indicates the absence of the application of the social components of STEPS. The selection mechanism for PSP operators focus on technological and financial capabilities, techno- fixes, without regards to the roles of traditional norms and culture in the waste management value chain. It is worthy to note that, studies across disciplines have recognized the dynamic relationship between the environment and development. This relationship is complex in nature and can be contextually defined differently from what traditional bureaucratic policy processes uphold (Demeritt, et. al, 2011).

The Conflicts in CLI:

A careful assessment of the environmental justice Atlas (2019) indicates sustainability conflicts on the part of waste pickers and scavengers. These groups of stakeholders are identified as an integral part of secondary stakeholders in the waste management policy. Successful waste management depends largely on the input and involvement of stakeholders (Phong et al., 2018), irrespective of their categories. Sustainable environmental management policy should consider the interest of both policy receptors, implementers and the complete value chain. This participatory process is able to promote socio-economic harmony, reduce inequality, enhance synergies and avoid non “trade-offs” displacements.

Certainly, waste pickers and scavengers are left behind in the CLI policy. This is against the spirit of sustainable development guidelines, and results in the marginalization of critical stakeholders. This has resulted in unnecessary conflicts, as is the case of Lagos which has constrained other stakeholders including government to propose what we call “after thought” proposals that will likely not yielding desired outcome. This was after a protest march to the State House of Assembly by these marginalise informal sector under the auspices of Waste Recyclers Association of Nigeria

(WRAN), Scavengers Association of Nigeria (SAN) and National Association of Solid Waste Dealers of Nigeria (NASWDEN). Sesan (2018) reported that although the combined waste management value chain engaged over 10,000 workers prior to the implementation of the CLI, this figure has gradually declined to less than 2,700 after privatising the sector.

The policy tends to be a neoliberal capitalist, which has globally continued to threaten waste pickers livelihood, see for example (Hartmann, 2018) that has invariable derailed the true intents and meaning of sustainable development. The top bottom approach in the CLI policy has delivered less than expected, with tendencies for more conflicts from legitimacy of scope and jurisdiction between Lagos State and Local Governments Authorities, especially on accruals and sharing arrangements. Political power relations is required to strengthen the entire framings, given credence to diverse perspectives. The need for a framework and approach with a clearly defined pattern of democratic processes-participatory, open ended, bring us back to the notion that, sustainable development requires integration with political process in addition to knowledge and expertise to actualise.


Marello and Helwege (2014) observes that, waste management policy that integrates waste pickers has the propensity for creating jobs, promote pro-environmental practices and reduces public expenditure on landfills. Three years into the program concerns on the effectiveness of the CLI policy has continued to emerge at macro and micro levels doubting realization of the set goals. The elements of political power play that influences the interaction of human-society and environment, dictate path way to this policy in contrast to the 3D’s and STEPS doctrine that advocates for plural pathways. The article further concurs with (Mbah, et. al. 2019) on the emphasis for the need to integrate “informal” sector participants, explore diverse pathways for a pragmatic policy on sustainable solid waste management in Lagos State. A framework should anchor and allow equitable participation and therefore there is need to review CLI policy including prioritising outcomes and periodic evaluation on the implementations mechanism. An “afterthought” arrangement for an informal sector participant negates the principles of sustainable development. The assertion of Raina & Dey (2020) on the need for dogmatic policy promoters who understand the working matrix of public interactions for a definite policy framework is reinforced.

We submit that, CLI is state-centered, non-participatory, government-led linear approach, with inordinate direction, limited diversification and inappropriate distribution pattern. STEPS pathways have revealed the myopic view of government singular influence to initiate and promote the policy with a more neo-classical economic perspective. The necessity to conceptualize a reformatory and holistic sustainable development policy framework at all levels which promotes wellbeing is identified by Mortensen, et. al. (2016).

This paper therefore, present a preliminary conceptual framework for waste management policy in developing countries, on a simple but complex interaction of Government-Needs-Concerns- Systems relations as described in Figure 1.

The political power through government mechanism considers and integrates special sustainable development needs, within the purview of the concern stakeholders including professionals and knowledge-based expertise, provides holistic waste management approach in line with the set-out goals. Political power relations are a key catalyst in determining pathways to sustainable development. The need for multi-dimensional approach for a successful waste management policies, regulations and guidelines especially in developing countries were stressed by McAllister, (2015). Synthesising STEPS pathways with the 3D’s of Direction, Diversity and Distribution to assess the CLI policy constrained us to conceptualize a framework in Figure 1. Comprehensive application of the proposed framework facilitates de-coupling of those informal sector adjudged marginalized, hence reduce conflicts in the area of policy implementation for living no one behind.


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