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FG/FAO seek approach to curb land degradation

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By Timothy Akintola

GEF Steering Committee Meeting to sensitize people about the new GEF facility.

Land degradation, with its resulting consequences have increasingly exacerbated Nigeria’s social and economic status and as the country recovers from the effects of Covid-19, the federal government in collaboration with development planners have commenced mobilization actions under the eight funding replenishment of the Global Environment Facility (GEF-8). This is posed to help stakeholders tackle environmental degradation and its drivers in the country. Global Environmental Facility is one of the largest acclaimed and experienced multilateral fund dedicated to tackling threats to the environment. The fund helps developing countries prioritize environmental actions that enhances global environmental sustainability. Some of the implementing agencies include Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), as well as United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

Included in the programme was a 2-day 12th GEF Steering Committee Meeting which was collaboratively organized by the Federal Ministry of Environment and FAO which took place last week in Abuja and was aimed at sensitizing people about the new facility. The GEF allocation to Nigeria under the GEF-8 cycle is $21,410 million. The Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi, in his keynote address, whilst urging for integrated approaches for addressing the environmental problems, noted that the meeting was significantly strategic when considered in view of the emerging issues succeeding the Covid-19 crisis and also the coincidence of the recent GEF cycle with a new programming direction which will properly inform stakeholders with the GEF operations and standards.

GEF programme set to help engender sustainable global environment.

The Minister, represented by the Director, planning, statistics/GEF operations Focal Point, Mallam Jonah Stanley, indicated that the programme would help in engendering the sustainability and rehabilitation of the global environment. He insisted that it was very necessary for recipient companies to utilize the seed grant and mobilizing the masses towards ensuring that environmental degradation is contained. Abdullahi urged experts in this field to utilize the forum as a means for locking a new level of synergy that will help the government and other stakeholders take collective and individual climate actions towards the environment.

He insisted that they must all see themselves as agents of renaissance. He said that all the experts must collectively act now, as their creative efforts would be of immense help in shaping the collective resolve to improve the environment. The FOA representative in Nigeria, Mr. Fred Kafeero, who was also represented by Climate Change Specialist, Ms. Nifesimi Ogunkua, said that FAO was a huge support system for countries globally in addressing the challenges between environment, agriculture, forestry, marine and freshwater resources.

FOA to support Nigeria’s greenhouse gas emission reduction target.

On stating the collaborative impact and technical awareness of FOA, the FOA representative further explained that FOA had been of immense help to many governments in convening diverse stakeholders, implementing partnerships, as well as mobilizing resources for Nigeria’s government to design and deliver projects useful for attaining sustainable results in the GEF-8 focal areas. He disclosed that FOA would make provide knowledge, experience and technical assistance in the diverse sectors such as biodiversity, climate change, international waters and land degradation.

Mr. Kafeero stated that FOA would provide major support and partnership as proposed in the GEF-8 integrated programmes, especially in the food system, ecosystem restoration, Amazon, critical forest biomes and wildlife conservation for the development and sustainability of cities. He thus promised FOA Nigeria’s support to enhance Nigeria’s greenhouse gas emission reduction target, as well as the country’s global commitment under the United Nations Framework Convention in regards to climate change.

Stakeholders resolve that FG must redeem its pledge to the GEF Trust Fund.

Aleriwon Daniel, the GEF Desk Officer also noted that GEF funding windows for projects ranging from full sized projects, from $2 million and above, medium sized projects with a budget of up to $2 million and small grant programmes, budgeted at the maximum of $50,000. Upon ending the meeting, stakeholders resolved that the federal government must redeem its promises to the GEF Trust Fund. They also hammered on the need to build synergy among the actors in the sector, to ensure the sustainability of environment in Nigeria. They also noted that competent consultants must be employed to enlighten stakeholders on project development, in line with the GEF focal areas.

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GEF: Website

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