Stakeholders demonstrate commitment in addressing desertification, drought in Nigeria




Stakeholders recently gathered and demonstrated strong commitment in addressing the menace of desertification and drought in Nigeria. HELEN OJI reports.

Desertification and drought are among the greatest threats to global sustainable development, especially in developing countries. Drought is increasing in frequency and severity and is predicted to affect over three-quarters of the world’s population by 2050. According to World Metrological Organisation (WMO), the number and duration of droughts has increased by 29 per cent since year 2000, as compared to the two previous decades. With the increasing impacts of climate change, it is obvious that no country would be immune to drought incidence. This year is hugely significant as the global agenda has shifted to drought with the theme “Rising Up From Drought Together”.

Committed goals

The Minister of Environment, Barr. Mohammed Abdullahi, stated that Cooperation and strong commitment are key efforts to achieved the goals that we have committed towards national targets.

He emphasize the need for an early action to avoid disastrous consequences for humanity and the planetary ecosystems. The matter requires even more attention now as Drought is a major driver of land degradation particularly in the drylands.

Abdullahi said when the land is degraded its productivity declines, greenhouse gas emissions increases and biodiversity is depleted.

National Action Plan

“Nigeria has developed a national Action Plan for management of droughts. Proactively, a five-year strategic plan that will engender coordinated efforts of building resilience against Climate change, desertification and other climate- driven environmental challenges have been developed with key components such as awareness creation and strategic partnership between government, communities, and development Partners,” he stressed.

“The National Strategic Action Plan is a key plank of the Implementation Strategy of the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI).

Furthermore, Nigeria has committed to other global and regional goals such as the Bonn Challenge and Land Degradation Neutrality( LDN) and dedicated to fulfill its pledge to the African Forest Restoration Initiative that seeks to restore 100 million Hectares of degraded landscape by 2030. So far , over Five Hundred and Fifty-five Thousand, Four Hundred and Eight Hectares of land restoration have been recorded.

Barr. Abdullahi called on all stakeholders to treat land as a limited and precious natural capital, prioritize its health and push hard to restore degraded land resources. Everyone has a role to play because everyone has a stake in land use and management. Let us not forget that a growing human population and roaring consumption are putting unsustainable pressures on the natural resources we depend on for survival. Our misuse and abuse of land and water is changing fertile land into deserts.

He noted that the decisions of the UNCCD Conference of Parties Fifteen(COP15) particularly on drought, land restoration and related enablers such as land rights, gender equality and youth empowerment and the Abidjan declaration at the Heads of States summit, government is determined to deepen national Strategies, Policies and Plans to meet up with global commitments and deploy simple and affordable techniques that can stop land degradation, desertification and drought , Such as agroforestry, afforestation, smart agricultural practices and development of gender sensitive, transformative land degradation neutrality projects and programs.

Vital ecosystem service

Also speaking, Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Environment, Engr. Hassan Musa, stressed that Desertification and Drought Management will play crucial role in strengthening the resilience of rural communities against climate shocks by securing and improving the provision of vital ecosystem service, which addresses issues such as food security, income equality, poverty, and resource availability.

“It is to improve quality of life, socio-economic progress. environmental protection and sustainable use of natural resources, thus, managing the menace, creates multiple benefits and will make a direct contribution to achieving all our commitments and that of the SDGs.

He added that Nigeria signify its interest in joining the holistic United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) process to address land degradation through setting voluntary preliminary Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) targets to be achieved by 2030.

“We have made efforts for funding a pipeline of projects in our path to a greener economy through the instrumentality of the green bond program.

The ministry is creating a mosaic of green and productive landscapes, right across Africa, and harnessing the Sahel’s abundant natural resources to power the future, a future that creates jobs and rebuilds livelihoods, raising millions out of poverty.

He explained that it protects economies against socio-economic crisis and a future that provides hope for the most vulnerable, including women and youth. We need you all to work with us to achieve these goals.

Barr. Abdullahi noted that we depend on each other and our natural resources to heal and adapt to the hostile impact of Climate Change, this underscore the need for collaborative action combined with political will , and sustained investment to ensure natural resources conservation.

UN Support

According to the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo Agege stress the need for Nigerian multi-stakeholder approach to be adopted, with support from the United Nations, in order to collectively combat the menace of desertification and drought which is now an undisputed enemy of peace and humanity, globally.

“Desertification has been a perennial problem in Northern Nigeria, and the rest of the Sahel region, with increased aridity due to climate change taking over a huge portion of erstwhile farmlands.

Omo Agege stated that drought have clearly threatened livelihoods in vulnerable communities due to land degradation and acute loss of rain-fed agriculture and biodiversity health.

He commended the environmental campaigners and activists who have all been in the forefront of raising awareness and helping to combat the menace of desertification and drought in Northern parts of Nigeria.

Restoration

Speaking at the stakeholders forum, the Director General of National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, (NESREA), Prof. Aliyu Jauro, said it create awareness on drought and to take action in addressing the issues of drought through restoration to combat land degradation of the areas affected by drought.

He stated that by 2050, drought may affect over three quarters of the World’s population if not properly addressed. As the world steps into the decade of ecosystem restoration, the need to restore the drought region is pertinent.

According to him, UNCCD COP 15 in Abidjan emphasized, the need for the restoration of degraded land to bring life to land. To achieve this, a robust sensitization and awareness creation campaign is vital as well as enforcement of the extant laws where need be.

Related content you may like