The Executive Director of, the Climate Change Amelioration Initiative (ECCAI), Mrs. Victoria Esa has called on relevant authorities to allow women, the youth, and other vulnerable groups to have access to, participate in, contribute and optimally benefit from climate change initiatives, programs, and policies at all levels, be it local, state, national or international.

Mrs. Esa made this call on Monday during a sensitization walk and press conference held in Makurdi to mark this year’s World Environment Day organised by ECCAI in collaboration with African Activists for Climate Justice (AACJ), Education as a Vaccine (EVA) and The African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET).

She sought equitable participation of women and girls in all their diversity in climate change policy process, programming, and decision-making at the community, federal and state levels including the need for gender balance and inclusion in the selection of decision-making bodies such as The Senate Committee on Ecology and Climate Change among others.

Mrs. Esa who pressed for investment in “local community-driven adaptations and solutions”, requested that the various coping solutions to the environmental problems developed by women over time, should be recognized, harnessed, and encouraged.

The Executive Director noted the impact ECCAI has made by executing several climate change initiatives in various locations and pointed out that the climate change challenge also aggravates the menace of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and called for measures to curb it.

Other speakers including Mrs. Edith Shenge who spoke for community women, Tine Agernor who spoke for the youth, Agatha Emmanuel who spoke for young women, and Martha Akoje who spoke for Civil Society Organisations all decried the menace of environmental pollution and how it has taken a toll on their lives and livelihood. They called on all to proffer solutions to the growing menace of plastic pollution.

The sensitisation walk which kick-started from the famous McCarthy Stadium, Makurdi at one end, ended at the State Ministry of Water Resources and Environment at another end and witnessed striking awareness talks on climate change, suggested solutions to plastic pollution, and a call to action to reduce reliance on single-use plastics with the environmental advocates wielding placards with various inscriptions like “Give us Climate Justice”, “Save Our Planet” and “Beat Plastic Pollution”.

Following the presentation of a petition calling on the government to take action to reduce plastic pollution that affects women, youths, people with disabilities, and all vulnerable groups, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry, Alhaji Ali Suleiman decried the startling statistics on plastic bag production most of which get dumped and channeled into the river to endanger aquatic life and, by extension humans too. He tasked the people with proper waste disposal and management urging all to destroy anything which threatens to destroy the only habitation we have.