Climate change, sea level rise, megacities under climate stress – these burning issues are discussed at international conferences, in international research institutes and during high level international political summits to safeguard the environment and to develop solutions especially for poor people living in the most vulnerable areas. But instead of linking sustainable economic development with opportunities for survival and wealth for all citizens, some policies and actions tend to ignore the poorer segments of society and even subject them to forced evictions from their homes under the pretext of protecting their lives from climate change impacts.
This is a trend noticeable in Lagos, the biggest city in West Africa which has a fragile and fast eroding coastline and is surrounded by creeks and lagoon waters. Until a few years ago the watersides were characterized by wetlands and mangrove forests and were inhabited by local fishing communities. In a massive urbanization move, residential estates and businesses have sprung up on the Lekki peninsula, with environmental and social impacts becoming increasingly evident. Beaches have been swept away and fishing communities have been rendered homeless. Industrial developments like the Lekki Free Trade Zone include deep sea ports, airports, oil refineries alongside residential and tourism infrastructure, to boost economic development and attract new foreign investment and trade. Civil society organizations and Nigerian scientists have been voicing their concerns about the emphasis the Lagos State Government has been attributing to economic growth without developing policies and regulations for the protection of the environment and citizens. The controversial Eko Atlantic project which is portrayed by Lagos State Government and developers as a model of sustainability, climate change adaptation and economic growth, is an example for the difficult process in reconciling the three conflicting interests of protecting the environment, promoting economic development, and striving for social justice for all.
Please follow the links below for more information. The Fact Sheet examines aspects of governance and transparency and raises awareness of already existing environmental consequences. The four Opinion Papers summarise experts' and scientists' concerns around the Eko Atlantic City project.