Professor Chukwumerije Okereke

2023 IVLP Impact Award Project: Urban Spaces Greening Education and AdvocacyNigeria

Professor Chukwumerije Okereke is the Director of the Centre for Climate Change and Development at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike and a Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics and Senior Academic Visitor at the University of Oxford, both in the UK. He is a globally recognized leading scholar on global climate governance and international development with expertise in climate justice, national green growth transition in Africa, climate adaptation and business climate strategies. Okereke played a major role in drafting the Climate Change Act. He was the Leader of the Technical Committee convened by the immediate past Hon Speaker of the House, Rt Hon Femi Gbajabiamiala to review the Climate Change Bill. Professor Okereke, during the review, introduced several innovative aspects to of the Climate Change Bill such the carbon budget and DG position of the National Council on Climate change.

Over the last 20 years, Chukwumerije has led several high-profile national international projects on climate change policy and green economy transition in Nigeria and Africa including: the Nigeria Deep Decarbonization project funded by the French Development Agency; Modelling of Nigeria’s Long Term Low Emission Development Strategies; the UNDP funded Africa Adaptation Initiative (AAI) commissioned by the Committee of African Heads of State on Climate Change (CAHOSCC), the Analysis of the Adaptation Components in Africa’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDCs) commissioned by the African Development Bank; and the Rwandan Green Growth and Climate Resilience Project, which was the first-ever national low-carbon plan in Africa. Chukwumerije was the Coordinating Lead Author of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report. He has served as Lead Author on other major global scientific assessment projects including the IPCC Special Report on 1.5-degree global warming and the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC; the United Nations Environment Program’s Urbanization, Biodiversity, and Ecosystem Services Assessment.

IVLP Impact Award Project: Urban Spaces Greening Education and Advocacy

The project trained 30 young climate leaders on urban air pollution and the contribution of urban spaces greening in addressing climate change and air pollution in cities. The selected leaders trained for two days on the science of climate change and air pollution. Part of the training included taking air quality measurements with the young leaders to paint an accurate picture of the air quality in the city. The training was accompanied by a tree planting activities of 115 trees in the city of Enugu. The young leaders also visited three secondary schools in Enugu to raise awareness on climate change, air pollution and the role of tree planting in addressing the challenges. The project attracted a lot of attention with over 4,000 applicants. As a result of this project, top government officials committed to plant 10,000 trees in Enugu, enact relevant urban green policies, and prioritize climate education.

"What was interesting about the program is that it exposed one to the dangers of climate change leading to global warming, and the need to take urgent action, especially in the area of waste management and urban green spaces." - Program Participant

IVLP Exchange Experience 

Chukwumerije was a participant in the IVLP Project The Climate Crisis: Working Together for Future Generations, organized by the U.S. Department of State and Meridian International Center.

Chukwumerije's exchange experience led to the development of his IVLP Impact Award Project: "This project idea was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, where interaction with several organizations that are working hard to call attention the to challenge of air pollution in the state. Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment talked about their dedication to protecting the health and well-being of the residents of Utah by promoting science-based health education and interventions... I also realized that focusing on air pollution could be in some cases a better way or "hook" to get into climate change, which can seem more abstract and contentious to some. Meetings in Portland, Oregon strengthened my conviction on the beauty and utility of urban parks as well as climate education among high school students. I saw in Miami, the role of local groups in taking simple and still effective action in the cleaning up of Miami Beach."

U.S. Communities Visited

Washington, DC; Miami, FL; Portland, OR; Salt Lake City, UT

"Through this interaction and the interaction with Envision Utah, Heal Utah, and the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, I gain a much stronger realization of the dangers of air pollution and the need to engage citizens in advocacy for air pollution." - Chukwumerije Okereke

Country: Nigeria 

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