The Resource and Environmental Policy Research Centre (REPRC) is a centre established by the University of Nigeria Nsukka to serve as a research, capacity building and policy advocacy centre on resource and environmental policy issues in Nigeria. It is the proposed EfD centre in UNN.
The vision of REPRC UNN is to be a world class and key environment for development research and policy advocacy centre in Sub-Saharan Africa with major focus on Nigeria; training students that will act as change agents in Nigeria and regional environment sector; implementing cutting-edge researches that will have both local and global impact; while providing evidence-based input into policy formulation and advocacy towards solving the myriads of environmental and economic development problems in Nigeria and the region.
The goal of REPRC UNN is to build capacity and conduct research and advocacy environment, agriculture, natural resources, climate and related issues, and thus facilitate and support evidence-based policymaking, policy implementation and ensure policy effectiveness in Nigeria for poverty reduction and sustainable development.
Objectives of the REPRC-UNN
The specific objectives of the Centre are to:
- undertake research in environment, agriculture, natural resources, climate and related issues to facilitate evidence-based policymaking in Nigeria to ensure poverty reduction and sustainable development;
- conduct training, and mentorship programmes for postgraduate students, UNN staff and other members of the larger society;
- provide opportunities for members and other identified researchers within the University of Nigeria, in particular, and Nigeria in general, to engage in international research collaborations in the environment, agriculture, natural resources and climate issues;
- create a forum in which academics, policy makers and civil servants set the research agenda for critical resource and environmental policy issues in Nigeria;
- share research results, support, host and/or participate in academic events and engage in policy dialogue with government and other stakeholders to facilitate policy implementation.
Nigeria is facing a plethora of environmental problems with the environment being increasingly under threat as a result of human activities and natural disaster (especially flooding). Among the major environmental issues Nigeria is facing to date are unsustainable agricultural practices, land degradation, deforestation and biodiversity loss, and land, water and air pollution, marine and coastal degradation, overexploitation of natural resources (such as fisheries, non-timber forest products, and sand/gravel mining, salt and timber); invasive species (especially due to destruction of mangroves) climate change induced environmental variability and degradation, floods, drought and desertification, among others (Federal Ministry of Environment, 2016) . Land resources in Nigeria are being degraded due to overuse, inappropriate technology, urbanization and soil erosion. Extensive deforestation as a result of multiple uses of forests by Nigerians (for example, an expansion for agriculture, lumbering, fuelwood and energy etc,) is also one of the major factors causing land degradation in Nigeria. The precarious situation of forest especially forest reserves in Nigeria which IITO (2006)  described as “non-forested forest reserves” is even worse. For example, the Global Forest Assessment Report indicates that Nigeria is one of the countries that had the greatest forest reduction between 2010 and 2015 with a loss of 410,000 hectares (4.5% of 2010 forest area) (FAO, 2015) . Air and water, marine and coastal pollution in Nigeria result from improper waste management, oil and gas exploration and exploitation. In fact, many cities in Nigeria are plagued by poor waste management and in coastal states especially these wastes end up in the marine ecosystem. For example, with a population of 9,013,534 in 2006 (FGN,2007)  and an annual growth rate of 3.2%, Lagos State waste management of Authority (LAWMA) estimated that 9000 tonnes of municipal solid waste was generated in Lagos each day in 2012. Thus, considering the poor waste management system in Lagos, a large chunk of these waste either end up in the water bodies such as the rivers and coastal waters, where they decay/block waterways or are burnt thus causing air pollution. The country is also witnessing various environment induced health hazards due to inability to maintain the minimum global standard and keep the environmental abuse to check. In fact, with an environmental value of 0.416, Nigeria is among top ten coastal countries that has the lowest environmental values based on eight environmental indicators (fish catch, fish management effectiveness, fish stock status, benefits from reefs and mangroves, water resources, biodiversity and habitat protection, forest management, and agricultural management) (Beck et al, 2014) 
Climate change is another major issue threatening Nigeria particularly its agriculture, water resources and coastal environment. In fact, Nigeria is predicted to suffer the largest average losses in the agricultural sector in Africa due to climate change (Mendelson, et al 2000) . Climate change effects will further exacerbate existing physical, ecological/biological, and socioeconomic stresses on the Nigerian coastal area. As indicated in the draft Nigeria Systematic Country Diagnostics (SCD) Project Concept Note (PCN), 0.2 m rise in sea level would inundate 3,400 km2 of the Nigerian coastal-area and a 1.0 m rise in sea level would cover 18,400 km2 of the coastal areas resulting in the submerge of the Nigeria entire oil and gas infrastructure located in the Niger Delta area, the eight ports’ infrastructure in Lagos and the Niger Delta and displacement of coastal population and eradication of their livelihoods. The country is particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts because of its limited capacity to adapt. Scientific evidence suggests that in the absence of adaptation, climate change could result in the loss of between 2% and 11% of Nigeria’s GDP by 2020, rising to between 6% and 30% by the year 2050 ( Federal Ministry of Environment, 2011) . This loss is equivalent to between N15 trillion naira (US$ 100 billion) and N69 trillion naira (US$ 460 billion).
In addition, Nigeria is experiencing increasing water scarcity due to inadequate catchment management, pollution, poor water management, drought and desertification, and deteriorating water quality. To date, “scarcity threatens urban and rural developments with rapidly rising water supply costs, reduced reliability of water supplies, prolonged droughts, flood and erosion and increasing costs of irrigated food production” (Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), 2004) . In fact diseases which are related to water and sanitation problems, for example, diarrhoea, malaria, schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis and guinea worm are a major threat to public health often leading to morbidity and mortality.
The manifestations of the environmental abuse have led to the current crisis and conflict situation, especially between herders and farmers, due to the scramble for the available scarce land and water resource in the middle belt region of the country, where thousands have been killed in recent time and there seems to be no end in sight for it; high poverty rate (69% of the 180 million people), weak economy with a growth rate of 1.5%, and the ongoing social vices including militancy, armed robbery, kidnapping for ransoms, etc, which are on the increase.
To tackle these problems and in line with the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended which provides that the “State shall protect and improve the environment and safeguard the water, air and land, forest and wildlife of Nigeria”, the country has formulated some policies and action plans that is guiding environmental management. These include the Nigeria Economic recovery and Growth Plan (NERGP); Agricultural Promotion Policy (APP) or Green Alternative; National Policy on Environment; National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP); National Adaptation Strategy and Plan of Action on Climate Change for Nigeria (NASPA-CCN); National Climate Change Policy and Response Strategy; National water Policy; and National Policy on Renewable Energy.
Nigeria also incorporated the Sustainable Development Goals in the NRGP and developed its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) which was her commitment to the Paris agreement. These policies will guide the research focus of the centre.
In line with the Nigeria policies indicated above, our main research focus/agenda for the next five years in terms of what we hope will give the “most bang for the buck” for policy and based on the capacity available are as follows:
- Energy: Research to facilitate the expansion of the scope and use of clean and sustainable energy solutions; and reduce conflicts in the exploitation and use of natural resources in Nigeria especially with special focus at facilitating the achievement of targets in the ERGP which include: increase in the number of households transiting from kerosene to cooking gas (LPG) to 20 per cent by 2020; increase in the number of households replacing kerosene lanterns with solar lamps by 20 per cent by 2020; and promote sustainable use of natural resources . This will also help in the achievement of the target as regards greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction through economy-wide energy efficiency and renewable energy of 179 million tons per year and 31 million tons per year respectively in 2013 as outlined in the NDC.
- Agriculture: As noted, the key issues in agriculture in the huge gap in demand and supply of crop, animal and fisheries products leading to food insecurity, unsustainable agricultural practices, exposure to climate and finance and risk issues among others. Our research will focus on agricultural productivity and diversification, conflicts that impede agriculture (for example farmers and herders conflicts and that due land resources), sustainable agriculture, climate-smart agriculture practices, risk attitude, coping and decisions by farmers, index insurance and other risk reduction measures.
- Land: Research and advocacy to forestall land degradation and desertification and enhance land resource management. This will include research to facilitate sustainable use of land, effective land markets, land titling and land rights ensuring inclusion on women and forestall land grabbing and desertification erosion control and watershed management.
- Climate Change: Our research on climate change will focus on mitigation and adaptation studies, climate resilience, vulnerability and risk management and provide policy direction in order to support Nigeria in meeting its target as outlined in the nationally determined contribution (NDC) and enhance implementation of projects that will enhance green growth;
- Ecosystems, Natural Resource and Biodiversity Conservation: We will also focus our research on issues concerning management and sustainable use of forestry and fisheries resources, biosafety, and development and promotion of aquaculture; the conservation, protection and management of inland, marine and coastal resources; sustainable use of freshwater, wetland and underground water resources and the conservation of vulnerable river and lake ecosystems and optimum use and protection of transboundary water resources and thus facilitate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
In addition, we will conduct natural resource valuation and natural resource accounting to provide the framework towards including natural resource accounts in Nigeria GDP calculation and facilitate the actualization of target 2 of the NBSAP which is to develop and implement a comprehensive programme for the valuation of biodiversity and payments for ecosystem services (PES) and goods are mainstreamed into the national budget by 2020.
We hope to Carryout bio-economic modelling and other research initiatives in some key natural resources especially fishery and forestry in order to recommend policies to stem resource degradation, overexploitation of natural resource and ensure biodiversity conservation so as enhance the income of resource-dependent communities, create alternative livelihoods and reduce poverty.
- Pollution: Conduct pollution studies (including air, marine and coastal pollution) and assessment to quantify the extent of pollution, pollution sources (including waste sources, transportation), exposure to health risks, and also pollution reduction and find alternative technologies to reduce indoor and outdoor pollution so as to substantially reduce pollution in Nigeria and enhance public health. Also, considering that a lot of pollution in Nigeria is caused by poor waste management and transportation, we will equally focus research on municipal solid waste management, transportation planning and transportation decision and use by urban residents.
- Disaster Risk: Considering the issue of flooding, bushfire heat waves especially in Northern Nigeria, we will focus research on disaster risk management issues, disaster risk reduction, mainstreaming gender in disaster risk reduction, policy, planning, in order to help Nigeria improve on its disaster management framework and strategies with evidence-based
- Water: Considering water issues in Nigeria, the centre will focus its research on water scarcity, water use efficiency, cost sharing in water investment and management even involving community people, water governance and quality standards, and impact of water-borne diseases on the economy. We will also focus on irrigation water supplies and challenges especially funding and cost reduction.
The Environment for Development (EfD) Initiative
The EfD initiative is a capacity building programme in environmental and development economics focusing on research, policy interaction, and academic programs. The objective of the EfD is to support poverty alleviation and sustainable development by building environmental economics capacity in policy making processes. The initiative which was established by the Environmental Economics Unit of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden has now a network of centres and research units hosted by some universities and research institutes around the world, for example, in Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Ethiopia, China, USA, Vietnam, and Costa Rica. Financial Support is provided by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). Further information on the EfD can be found in the website – www.efdinitiative.org.
 Federal Ministry of Environment (FMEnv) (2016) National Policy on Environment 2016. FMEnV, Abuja, Nigeria.
 FAO (2015) The Global Forest Resource Assessment. FAO, Rome.
 FGN (2007) Federal Government of Nigeria Official Gazette: Lgal Notice of the Publication of the 2006 Census: Lagos, Nigeria.
 Beck, M.W (ed) (2014) Coasts at Risk: An Assessment of Coastal Risks and the Role of Environmental Solutions. A joint publication of United Nations University – Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Coastal Resources Center (CRC) at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography.
 Mendelsohn R, Dinar A & Dalfelt A, (2000) Climate change impacts on African agriculture. http://www.ceepa.co.za/Climate_Change/pdf/(5-22-01)afrbckgrnd-impact.pdf.
 Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) (2004) National Water Policy. Abuja, Nigeria.
 Federal Ministry of Environment- Climate Change Department. (2011) National Adaptation Strategy and Plan of Action on Climate Change for Nigeria (NASPA-CCN). Abuja, Nigeria.