Nigeria: waste programmes and the international carbon markets

Nigeria is Africa’s largest country by population and GDP, the second heaviest emitter in Africa behind South Africa and is among the top 20 countries most vulnerable to climate change risks. In its NDC, Nigeria has pledged unconditionally to reduce emissions by 20 % by 2030, or by 45 % with support.

Exploring the relationship between Nigeria’s NDC goals and the nature of the work supported by the EU GCCA+ provides a good example of how NDCs set overarching goals and act as ‘guardrails’ for subsequent activities to achieve them. In 2020, and with the support of the EU GCCA+, the Nigerian government established the Nigeria Climate Change Response Programme (NCCRP). The aim of the NCCRP is to identify actions that would reduce energy consumption and improve energy efficiency, reduce energy costs, and facilitate the transition to renewable energy.



As described in issue #3 of this magazine, ‘The mitigation effect’, waste management is a growing problem for Nigeria and opening new sources of investment into improving waste management is a priority. With this in mind, the NCCRP is mandated to: (1) support robust institutional and sectoral monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions from the energy and waste sectors; (2) establish a baseline for waste emissions; (3) support the reduction of these by identifying best waste-management practices; and (4) improve the understanding among a wide range of stakeholders of the opportunities available to take effective climate action. 

In 2020, the government requested EU GCCA+ support to expand the NCCRP’s terms of reference to accommodate new approaches enabled under the Paris Agreement that could help Nigeria meet its conditional 45 % NDC target. Specifically, Nigeria wants to use international cooperative market-based approaches – or carbon markets – to facilitate access to carbon finance by generating internationally transferred mitigation outcomes (ITMOs) through waste programmes that can be sold on international carbon markets.

To be counted against the reduction of NDC emissions, ITMOs must be robust and credible units of carbon. Their generation will rely heavily on the accurate and transparent to measurable, reportable and verifiable (MRV) processes being supported by the NCCRP. At the same time, through some of the NCCRP capacity-building programmes tailored for public and private stakeholders, they aim to enlarge the spectrum of new business opportunities in waste management to help reach the Paris Agreement targets. Finally, as capacity is built up, the data collected through MRV processes and the lessons learned might also be used to inform scale-up action in the waste sector or support the development of other activities in other sectors.