My hearty congratulations to ALL the outstanding young adults participating in the 2022 Nigerian International Secondary Schools Model United Nations Conference! American schools have a long tradition with Model UN, and this year hundreds of outstanding American and international students will be attending Model UN conferences in Washington, D.C., New York City, Boston, Houston, and Tampa Bay. Through your model UN classes here in Nigeria, you are gaining a valuable, first-hand glimpse into what it is like to be a diplomat representing a country. And now, through your upcoming deliberations on Climate Change, you will discuss national and multilateral approaches that can lead to positive action and change. I’m confident that each of you, whether you choose a career in public service or decide on a different professional path, will build on this Model UN experience and become a leader and peacebuilder in your own right.
The United States welcomes and supports Nigeria’s pledge to achieve net zero emissions by 2060, and we actively partner with your government, civil society, and private sector to mitigate the effects of climate change. For example, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission in Nigeria is looking at Water and Hygiene Sanitation from a climate perspective. It is investing with the Wildlife Conservation Society in Bauchi and Cross Rivers to introduce nature-based solutions to sustainably manage critical watersheds that will protect biodiversity and forests. By reducing rates of forest loss, we will strengthen climate resilience and minimize greenhouse gas emissions.
Through Power Africa, USAID is helping expand renewable energy production and improve power grids. They are also reducing reliance on highly polluting diesel generators and combatting gas and methane emissions in the oil and gas sector. Through our investments in solar energy, more than 1.4 million Nigerians are benefiting from U.S.-supported privately managed renewable off-grid generation projects. We also partner with the Government of Nigeria on efforts to eliminate gas flaring, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 13 million tons per year.
As President Biden has often said, climate change represents an existential threat to the entire world, and every country has a role to play in protecting our shared environment. I wish you the best of luck in your conference, and all success beyond!