Could Participants Bring Knowledge Garnered From COPE28 To Bear In Tackling Climate Change?

Feature Article Could Participants Bring Knowledge Garnered From COPE28 To Bear In Tackling Climate Change?

It is not an overstatement to say that when it comes to sponsoring a brilliant student back in the day in the university that it is usually a collective effort in the community, particularly in rural areas. Even if kinsfolks do not directly contribute money to such sponsorship, they ensure that loans from any influential member of the community are granted to either of the parents of the benefiting student as there is the widely held notion that it is an excellent opportunity to give back to the community. Not only that, the demonstrated mutual support shows that they value higher education and charity. In fact, the sponsorships also act as an assurance that the top “Big men” that the community pray to have in future would emerge through the act of collectively assisting one of their own. Overall, financially and educationally supporting university-attending individuals is a win-win transaction for the community and the beneficiary in this case.

In a similar vein, it is expedient to contextually reason that there has always been a growing interest for the governments to sponsor the youths in international higher education. In this case, the governments initiate or expand scholarship programmes that provide citizens with the opportunity to study outside their home country. To cite a contemporary example in illustrating the foregoing view, it is pragmatic in this context to say that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) offers Foreign Post Graduate (Masters) Scholarship Programme opportunity to youths in the Niger Delta communities of the country as a way of demonstrating its unwavering commitment to fostering human resource development and empowerment of the youths in the Niger Delta region.

At this juncture, it is typical for anyone to question the rationale behind government sponsorship of citizens through scholarship programmes. The rationales for government-sponsored scholarship schemes cannot be farfetched as they turn on aspiration for national development, namely to advance the economy and improve a country’s capacity and potential for innovation. A central interest is to foster greater expertise in important fields, mostly (and unsurprisingly) in areas relating to science, technology, engineering and mathematics, where domestic training is either unavailable or thought to be of less than ‘world-class’ quality.

Explained from the backdrop of the foregoing facts, it is not unexpected for an inquisitive reader of this piece to ask why do governments also sponsor their officials to Conferences since it is usually of a short duration compared to four-walls of a university, and what do participants stand to gain considering the ginormous amount of monies that are usually spent on such Conferences by governments, and in turn bring knowledge to bear on the nation’s economy.

To respond to the foregoing contextual inquisitions, it suffices to throw insight into what a Conference is all about. As gathered from lexicographic materials, “A conference is an event in which a number of people meet to discuss and share ideas, experiences, or work. The term can be used for any type of meeting, but it is often used in relation to business meetings and annual meetings of organizations”.

As typically known, Conference organizers usually plan a full agenda of events that include keynote speeches, panel discussions, breakout sessions, and social events. Attendees come from all over the world to attend these conferences, which can be a great opportunity to learn new things and network with other professionals.

In fact, there are different types of conferences, with their own purpose and focus. The most common types of conferences cut across Business conference, Academic conference, Educational conference, Scientific conference, Social/cultural conference and Peace conference. Others are Trade conference, Press or News conference and Authors’ conference.

A typical example of a Conference, and which can be classified to be Scientific in nature is the COP 28 that is presently going on in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and which started from November 30, 2023 and slated to end on December 12, 2023. Officially, COP 28 stands for the 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

For the sake of clarity, the UN Climate Change conference, that is popularly, and acronymically been referred to as COP takes place every year, and remained the world’s only multilateral decision-making forum on climate change with almost complete membership of every country in the world.

To put it simply, the COP is where the world comes together to agree on ways to address the climate crisis, such as limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, helping vulnerable communities adapt to the effects of climate change, and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Prior to the commencement of the ongoing Conference in Dubai, it is reported that more than 70,000 delegates were expected to attend, including the member states (or Parties) of the UNFCCC. Business leaders, young people, climate scientists, Indigenous Peoples, journalists, and various other experts and stakeholders who are also among the participants.

In as much as Nigeria is actively participating in the ongoing COP28 Conference In Dubai, critics have flayed the government for sending a Jamboree-sized entourage to the annual event considering the expenses involved in flying such a large number of delegates to Dubai, lodging them in the hotels, and unarguably paying estacodes to them.

According to, an online news platform, “Nigeria apparently sent the third-highest number of delegates, specifically with1, 411 delegates to the summit despite the harsh consequences of the economic crisis, which is primarily the result of the actions of the leadership of the ongoing political dispensation.

Though the presidency has refuted the viral news report that it sent 1,411 delegates to the Conference as it claimed 422 persons were funded for the conference giving the breakdown as nominations of 32 participants from the National Council on Climate Change, 34 from the Federal Ministry of Environment, 167 from all Ministries = 167, and 67 from the Presidency. Other participants 9 from the Office of the Vice President, 40 from the National Assembly and 73 from the Federal Parastatals/Agencies.

To not a few critics, even the 422 delegates is also large considering the cost expended on them for the meeting. Another area of concern, and which demands an answer from the government is, “Did the selection process of the delegates give priority to government officials whose professional assignments are closely related to the subject matter of climate change?”

In fact, BusinessDay reports that 590 of the 1,411 attendees were given free tickets by the Nigerian government to attend the conference; thus the estimated cost of these delegates’ round-trip airfare is N885 million.

The newspaper used flight rates from foreign airline carriers to calculate the price.

The publication reported that an average international airline operator check revealed that the cost of a two-way ticket from Nigeria to Dubai is N1.5 million.

According to a BusinessDay research, each traveler’s estacode is determined by their level. Ministers receive an estacode of $900 a day, or $11,7000 per minister for the duration of the conference, which is held over 13 days. Permanent secretaries receive $600 each day amounting to a total of $7,800.

Opining from the perspective of the headline of this piece, which ask the salient question, “Could participants bring knowledge garnered from COPE28 to bear in tackling climate change?”

The foregoing question is very exigent as the cost of the somewhat Jamboree need to be defrayed or rather be of benefit to the country through the knowledge that the participants would bring to bear in tackling the challenges that are inherent in climate change.

At this juncture, it is expedient to clarify that the essence of this piece is to remind the government of an ad hoc committee constituted by the Vice President of Nigeria, Kashim Shettima, in early November, 2023 in preparation of the country’s participation in the COP28 Climate Change Conference in the United Arab Emirates. The committee was charged with the responsibility of charting a roadmap to ensure Nigeria maximizes the benefits derived from its presence at the conference, and the only way to achieve the objectives the committee was set up to achieve, is for the delegates that attended the conference to bring the wealth of knowledge they garnered from the event to bear on Nigeria’s economy, particularly as they are expected to demonstrate such knowledge even as they in turn impart the knowledge to others, in tackling the climate change challenge that Nigeria is faced with.