……..by Ben Ndubuwa……
The Former head of the Environmental Services Division of Lagos State Ministry of Environment, Prof. Celina Maduemezia has called on the federal, States and local governments and Environmental Agencies in Nigeria to put in place sustainable policy management and implementation on environmental issues. Insisting that collaboration, evaluation and monitoring are key to strategic management and implementation of environmental policies.
Maduemezia defined environment to be everything around man “including those we can see and those we cannot see comprising living things (man, other animals, plants, micro-organisms, algae, bacteria, fungi, viruses, lichens) and non –living things (inanimate things) including soil, land, water, air, sun, clouds, rain, snow, the built environment” She said.
Recalling her days as the head of the Ministry of Environment during the Lateef Jakande administration as Lagos State Governor, Maduemezia pointed out that it was then Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) was established. According to her they embarked on rigorous public enlightment campaign using public address systems on motor vehicles and buses to go around the entire Lagos State local government areas to sensitize the people about environmental issues and encouraged to be part of clean-ups in certain in the week. “Even as head of the Lagos Environmental Services Division I was participating in sweeping Lagos Streets to show example to others” she said.
According her it was then that A LASEPA Laboratory was established; Market and street clean ups started. There was town hall meeting with members of the public, Environmental Sanitation Days and competition amongst schools, markets, Local Governments, Industries, removal of derelict vehicles and illegal structures, use of garbage bags, removal of beggers from the streets and control of street trading, provision of toilets, provision of drainage channels, collaboration with world Bank, and collaboration with Industries.
Maduemezia who is also the Principal Consultant at Enville Environmental Consultants Limited, was a keynote speaker at a recent SUSTAINABILITY. ENVIRONMENT. ADVOCACY (S.E.A) awards 2023, organized in Lagos by “Environment Africa” a monthly environment, oil, gas and energy publication.
In her words “Honestly” I am truly honoured to be here in this gathering as one of the awardees of the S.E.A 2023 Award and to be given this golden opportunity to share my experience on the subject of how capacity building and policy implementation affect environmental services generally especially during my time at the helm of affairs in the Environmental Services Division of Lagos State Ministry of The Environment.
In her paper titled Capacity Building and Policy Implementation – Impact on Environmental Services: The Lagos STATE Experience, she x-rayed key challenges in policy implementation in environmental issues. According to her while policies maybe well-intentioned, they often face some challenges during their implementation.
“The following are a few of the challenges that are often encountered while implementing Policies: Resource Constraints: Scarce financial resources and insufficient technical expertise can impede the successful execution of policies.
“Resistance from Vested Interests, making it challenging to implement existing policies.
Facilitating Behavioral Change: Encouraging individuals and businesses to key into policy
implementation often necessitates substantial shifts in behavior and mindset. Achieving this can be arduous without adequate support and education of the stakeholders on the need. Monitoring and Evaluation: Effective policy implementation relies on robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. Absence of these, assessing progress and making necessary adjustments becomes challenging e.g. the EIA implementation” she said.