FAO, Environment Ministry to recover 350,000 hectares of degraded landscapes

By Abigael Joshua
The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the Ministry of Environment are partnering to recover 350,000 hectares of degraded landscapes for environmental sustainability in the country.

Malam Balarabe Lawal, Minister of Environment, communicated this on Wednesday in Abuja during the contract signing ceremony.

He said that the 350,000 hectares of land would be recovered in 19 Agro-Climatic Resilience in semi-Arid Landscape (ACReSAL) states and the FCT.

“I am pleased that this engagement for the technical assistance to restore large scale landscape will yield evidenced outcomes towards healthy environment.

“The importance of landscape restoration efforts cannot be over emphasised especially in the context of our environmental health and its visible impact on the livelihoods of the communities in entire northern part of Nigeria.

“We are all aware that this contract signing represents a legal agreement and it symbolises a shared vision for a sustainable and a more resilient future.

He said that the project implementation was a shared commitment to a sustainable practice and a determination to make a positive impact on our environment.

“Northern Nigeria, with its rich biodiversity and cultural heritage, is plagued with serious challenges that require innovative and collaborative solutions.

“It is indeed a great achievement to witness the commitment of the FAO and our partners, the World Bank, to address these challenges by building capacity of the community to adapt and mitigate the challenges through this ground breaking initiative.

“As we celebrate this milestone today, let us be mindful of the responsibility that come with it; the success of this engagement will depend on our collective efforts, perseverance and ability to adapt to evolving circumstances.

“Therefore, let us foster a spirit of collaboration, innovation and inclusivity as we work towards a common goal of a restored and resilient landscapes in the 19 ACReSAL States and the FCT,” the minister said.

Earlier, the Dominique Koffy Kouacou, FAO Representative ad interim in Nigeria and ECOWAS, said that FAO was committed to sustaining the support to the government and the ministry in particular to protect the environment and sustainably conserve Nigeria’s vast natural resources.

“The objective of ACReSAL is to increase the implementation of sustainable landscape management practices in targeted watersheds in northern Nigeria and strengthen Nigeria’s long-term enabling environment for integrated climate resilient landscape management.

“The agreement we are signing today is important to FAO because the objective is to provide the required technical expertise for the development and implementation/up-scaling of the landscape restoration subcomponent of the ACReSAL Project in synergy with the Great Green Wall Sahel-wide initiative of the African Union.

“This technical assistance will certainly improve the development and delivery of resilience for land restoration and Climate Smart Agriculture knowledge and services to both the federal, state and community levels by designing training materials and curricula tailor-made for restoration and value chain development,” he said.

The FAO representative added that the technical assistance would equally complement the activities supported by the Great Green Wall Sahel-wide initiative of the African Union.

Mr Abdulhamid Umar, National Project Coordinator, ACReSAL, said that the project would ease the burden of farmers in the arid land.

He said that the project would equally address carbon emissions, greenhouse gas, unemployment challenges and poverty.

Umar said that the project was anchored on four pillars namely– the dry land management, community climate resilience, institutional policy strengthening and project management.

Ms Joy Agene, World Bank Representative, said that the project was a commitment to support Nigeria through ACReSAL to reclaim 350,000 hectares degraded lands.

She said that the World Bank would collaborate with stakeholders to come out with an efficient outcome on the implementation of the project.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Federal Ministries of Environment and Water Resources and Sanitation as well as the National Great Green Wall Agency are co leads in the implementation of the project.



Edited by Chijioke Okoronkwo

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