The United Nations Environment Programme ( UNEP), has urged the Nigerian financial regulatory agencies to enforce sustainable financial principles in their activities, to ensure that the country aligns with the global effort at enthroning a more prosperous world, devoid of poverty and brown ecosystem.
Sustainable finance principles is one of the emerging practices that stipulates that in the pursuit of profit, there is need to consider pressing environmental and social issues, such as poverty, youth unemployment, gender inequality, climate change, deforestation, and food insecurity.
The Deputy Head, UNEP, Ms Yuki Yusu, at a capacity building workshop for financial regulatory bodies in Nigeria, under the aegis of Financial Sector Regulatory Coordinating Committee (FSRCC), said the call had become necessary given the vital roles the regulators play in stabilising the economy.
The FSRCC membership comprises operators drawn from the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, Securities and Exchange Commission, National Insurance Commission, National Pension Commission and the Nigeria Stock Exchange.
Yusu stressed that the role these regulators play in the financial sector can go a long way in accelerating a sustainable ecosystem and a better environment for the next generation.
According to her,“there is a huge funding gap. A lot of study by the United Nations and other agencies show we need trillions of dollars per year in investing in a green ecosystem and save the economy.
“We have a lot of people that should be out of poverty and the funding gap means that the financial sector needs to be involved to participate and channeled the money from brown economy to green economy and the regulators will play a big role.”
The UNEP charge came on a day the Nasarawa State Government endorsed a green energy programme, introduced to check climate change and its pangs on the environment.
Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele has urged other regulatory agencies under the Financial Service Regulatory Coordination Committee to build on the momentum of the sustainable banking practice by supporting and promoting the evolution of an economy driven by sustainable finance.
Emefiele, while speaking at the opening session of a sustainable finance training for financial sector regulatory agencies, stressed the need for regulators to accelerate the global transition to sustainable development by imbibing, economic, social and environmental sustainability
Represented at the workshop by Dr A’isha Usman Mahmood, he said that while the financial sector has a one-dimensional goal of maximization of profits and return on investment, sustainable development concepts pursue a balance between environmental protection, social equity and economic development.
According to him, “as a result of the growing evidence on the positive nexus between environment and Social management and improved economic performance, an increasing number of financial institutions worldwide are adopting sustainable finance practices to ensure that economic development is not achieved at a cost to our ecosystem and our future generations.
“Consequent to the growing evidence that environmental and social issues present growing risks to economic growth, the Nigerian Financial Sector developed and adopted the Nigeria Sustainable Banking Principles which is an industry-led initiative needed to build a more resilient, robust, environmentally and socially responsible financial sector.”
In a related development, the Nasarawa State Government has endorsed a technological innovation that would convert wastes to produce green energy for power supply, check environmental hazards otherwise called renewable energy which is soon to kick start in parts of Nasarawa state near Abuja.
Under the planned technology, the wastes would be processed and ultimately produce hydrogen and nitrogen for energy storage for an uninterrupted power supply as well as fertilizer for agriculture The project is being pioneered by a Canadian based Science Company; NH3 in collaboration with Nigeria Renewable Energy and Real Estate firm; Traveri Group.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two companies will be perfected on Friday in Abuja while the two companies would then be called and addressed as Traveri NH3.
Already, an understanding with Nasarawa state government to commence the funding and development for proper town planning as well as constructions and delivery of Engineering works, Renewable Energy generation and distribution in selected districts In the state as pilots scheme has been reached with the donor company.
Briefing the governor of Nasarawa state Deputy Governor- Silas Agara on the project in Lafia on Wednesday , the Chief Executive Officer of Traveri NH3 Mr. Innocent Obande said the renewable energy when fully operational would address the huge deficits in power generation, control environmental hazards and create employment opportunities in the country.
Obande noted that the development of infrastructure and other social amenities are necessary ingredients to stimulate Economic growth and employment opportunities in any economy saying that public private partnership is the answer.