The Nigerian Government has reiterated its commitment to addressing the issues of land degradation, to ensure sustainable development and livelihoods of people in the affected communities.
The assurance came as Nigeria is faced with rapid desert encroachment affecting about 15 Northern states from severe to moderate rate.
The Minister of Environment, Dr. Muhammed Mahmood stated this in Abuja, at the commemoration of 2021 World Desertification Day.
He noted that the challenges posed by desertification, land degradation and drought have worsen by the climate change and the urgency to address their impacts, the United Nations declared 2011-2020 as the decade for deserts and the fight against desertification.
Dr. Mahmood said; ”addressing this challenges the government has developed policies and plans to enhance effective and far-reaching actions to reduce the impacts of desertification and drought on the citizenry.”
“The government recognises the importance of partnership in tackling desertification, it has therefore facilitated the involvement of other actors, including the private sectors, NGOs as well as Donor Organisations. Many of these actors including the Nigerian Environmental Study/Action Team, NEST and the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, NCF are actively participating in the activities of the Global Network on desertification,” he stated.
The Minister said; “At the regional level, the Great Green Wall program for instance, is an example of a regional program involving West African partners. This program which aims at providing long- term solutions to desertification, land degradation, drought, climate change and biodiversity loss within the West African Sub-region adopts integrated sustainable land management, approach in its operation.”
According to him, Government has also put in place the North East Development Commission to restore human dignity and bring succor to the people living in the affected area.
Dr. Mahmood said; “Government is concerned about the disruption of ecological system caused by poor land use, population pressure and the devastating activities of insurgents in the North Eastern part of the Country with the dire consequences of land degradation, loss of lives and means of livelihood.
”To this end Government has put in place the North East Development Commission to restore human dignity and bring succor to the people living in this area. Government is also committed to strengthening the Lake Chad Basin Commission and repositioning it for better service delivery to those who depend on the lake for their livelihood.”
The Minister, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Muhammed Bello said the FCT have keyed into the Nigerian Government’s efforts in the fight against desertification and drought.
Bello said; “Here in the FCT, we have also keyed into the Federal Govenment’s efforts in the fight against desertification and drought as we have begun the process of planting about 170,000 trees across the FCT with the collaboration of several non-governmental organisations, and members of the public. I must not fail to mention that 70,000 of these tree seedlings were received from the Federal Ministry of Environment, last year and we thank them for this.”
The Director General, Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NiMet, Sani Mashi said the celebration of the World Desertification, provides the government an opportunity to draw the attention of the public to the challenges of desertification, land degradation and drought along with their environment and socio economic impacts at communal, national and global scales.
”World Desertification and Drought Day (WDD), is an auspicious occasion that provides an opportunity to remind ourselves and draw the attention of the public to the challenges of desertification, land degradation and drought along with their huge environmental and socio economic impacts at communal, national and global scales.
During a milestone occasion like this, it has become necessary for us to look back, review drivers and barriers to land degradation to rebuild better and adopt a sustainable pathway towards the exploitation and management of our natural capital,” Mashi explained.
Report says more than 12 million hectares of land are lost globally to desertification, land degradation and drought each year.
The slogan for the 2021 World Desertification Day is “Restoration. Land. Recovery,” We build back better with healthy land.