By Kingsley Adegboye
Minister of Environment, Mrs. Hadiza Ibrahim Mailafia says the Federal Government will partner with relevant organisations to check the problems of land degradation, desertification, food insecurity and impoverishment of communities in the dry land regions of Nigeria.
Speaking at the inauguration of a technical committee to review the current strategy and approach to the implementation of the Great Green Wall (GGW) programme in collaboration with the European Union, the Minister declared that “the Federal Ministry of Environment is fully committed to the implementation of the Great Green Wall Programme in Nigeria and has already embarked on baseline studies, with a view to developing action plan that would ensure effective conclusion of the programme”.
Mrs Ibrahim Mailafia said her Ministry is making efforts to mobilize funds from external sources in order to enhance the performance of the programme.
She lauded the European Union, EU, for taking a leading role in supporting the implementation of the Great Green Wall Project since 2007. Nigeria is a beneficiary of the EU support project. The Minister stated that the implementation of the Great Green Wall has commenced with support projects across the countries involved.
The African Union Commission, AUC)is presently implementing two support projects in 13 countries to develop action plans and projects portfolio for the implementation of the Great Green Wall. The first project is funded and executed by Food and Agriculture Organization FAO, through a technical cooperation programme covering five countries, including Chad, Dji bouti, Ethiopia, Mali and Niger.
The second project for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative is co-funded by the EU, Global Mechanism of the UNCCD and executed by FAO and covers eight countries – Algeria, Burkina Faso, Egypt, the Gambia, Mauretania, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan.
Members of the inaugurated Technical Committee on European Support for the Great Green Wall Programme in Nigeria are Mr. Taye Haruna, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment who is the Chairman, Dr. Bukar Hassan, Director, Drought, Desertification Amelioration in the Federal Ministry of Environment, and Mr. E.C. Emecheta, Deputy Director in the same Department.
Others include Mrs. Kate, Project Officer, representing the European Union, Mr. Chamberlain Okoro, representing National Planning Commission, and Mr.V. E. Malu, representing National Planning Commission as member.
The terms of reference of the committee include: review the current strategy/approach to the implementation of the great green wall programme; identify areas of interests of the European Union EU, as they relate to sustainable land management of dry lands in Nigeria, identify specific activities and location for EU intervention in the programme, develop a costed work plan for implementation in the country and carry out any other activities that can add value to the programme.
The committee was given four weeks from the date of its first sitting to submit a report for the consideration of the Ministers of Environment and National Planning Commission as well as the Head of the EU delegation.
The establishment of the Technical Committee is one of the decisions of the meeting of the Ministers of Environment and National Planning Commission, with the Head of the European Union (EU) delegation held on 5th June in the National Planning Commission.