The Federal Government has said it is dedicated to fulfilling its pledge to the African Forest Restoration Initiative which seeks to restore 100 million hectares of degraded landscape by 2030.
The Minister of Environment, Barr. Mohammed Abdullahi, stressed this in his welcoming address at the 2022 commemoration of the World Desertification and Drought Day held at Abuja today (June 17, 2022).
He said over 555,480 hectares of land restoration have been recorded and the country is committed to other global and regional goals such as the Bonn Challenge and land degradation neutrality (LDN).
“This year is hugely significant as the global agenda has shifted to drought. The theme ‘Rising from Drought Together’ emphasises the need for 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. As you are aware, when the land is degraded its productivity declines, greenhouse gas emissions increase and biodiversity are depleted.
“I will like to remind us that 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 the World Metrological Organisation, the number and duration of droughts have increased by 29 per cent since 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.
“As part of the efforts towards addressing the menace of drought, Nigeria has developed a national action plan for the 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 has been developed with key components such as awareness-creation and strategic partnership between government, communities and development partners. 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). This plan was developed in line with the harmonized regional strategy of the GGW Convention.”
The minister beckoned on all stakeholders to treat land as a limited and precious natural capital, prioritize its health and push hard to restore degraded land resources. He said that the great green wall in Africa is a wonderful example of what we can potentially achieve together.
The permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, Engr Hassan Musa said the ministry is committed to fulfilling its pledge to combat drought and land degradation neutrality (LDN) by 2030.
He said in raising awareness on nagging issues facing our environment, they have been able to come up with their policies, strategies, plans and full commitment to international programmes such as the agro-climatic, resilience in semi-arid landscape (ACRESAL) and sand and dust storms (SDS).
Hassan said the desertification and drought management will play a crucial role in strengthening the resilience of rural communities against climate shocks by securing and improving the provision of vital ecosystem services, which addresses issues such as food security, income equality, poverty and resource availability.
“Desertification and drought management is directly linked to improved quality of life and 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.”
In addition, the director-general of the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Prof. Aliyu Jauro said the drought is one of the most destructive natural disasters and ensures that NESREA will continue to collaborate with the department of desertification, land degradation and drought to actualise the implementation of the drought policy in the country.