After the Global Environment Facility (GEF) received strong support for its new investment cycle, (known as GEF-7), fresh efforts are underway in financing Nigeria’s actions to protect the future of the planet and human well-being over the next four years.
GEF supports initiatives in countries across a broad spectrum of action areas.
Early in the year, close to 30 countries jointly pledged US$4.1 billion for developing nations to safeguard the world’s forests, land, water, climate, and oceans, build green cities, protect threatened wildlife, and tackle new environmental threats like marine plastic pollution.
Towards placing Nigeria amongst the group of the early countries to access its resources for GEF7, the Federal Ministry of Environment recently organised its 11th GEF National Steering Committee meeting in Abuja with the support of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to fashion out new projects for the scheme.
A total of US$20.68 million has been allocated to Nigeria to support its programme under the new cycle.
Setting tone for the two-day meeting, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, Dr. Shehu Ahmed, urged stakeholders to come up with waste to wealth initiatives to reduce or totally eradicate plastics pollution which pose threats to lives, especially aquatic lives and causing depletion to the ozone layer.
He said: “We have taken issues of waste and environmental sanitation more seriously while ensuring that the ministry is able to provide data on environment issues when required.
We can put to a halt to environmental disasters and beef-up early warnings systems for the environment,” he said.
Represented by the Director, Department of Climate Change, Dr. Peter Tarfa, he disclosed that Nigeria has signed several bi-lateral and multi-lateral obligations with the objective of developing the potentials of the populace in all spheres of life to attain sustainable development, green economy, eradication of poverty and creation of employment with the purview of diversifying the Nigerian economy.
“Nigeria will maximize the benefits accruable from the opportunities available in terms of getting more funds into system through GEF funded projects, which concepts and titles would be generated and perfected in the nearest future for transmission to the GEF secretariat,” he said.
UNDP Regional Technical Advisor, Climate Change Mitigation and Energy, Faris Khader underpins the critical role that GEF investments play in the scaling up sustainable local solutions for global benefits.
“We live in an incredibly complex and interconnected environment, which is a life supporting system for human survival.
“While a properly managed environment can be geared towards productive requirements, a poorly managed one could easily threaten human survival,” he said.
Khader explained that the inclusion of State actors and local communities in the consultation recognize the significant roles they play in designing of sustainable programmatic interventions and harnessing grassroots solutions and innovations that will sustainably address the key drivers of environmental degradation in Nigeria, while maximizing the benefits of GEF at all levels.
According to him, the longstanding UNDP-Federal Ministry of Environment is of significant value. “Our current GEF programming covers biodiversity and climate change, with the overall vision of delivering value to the poor and marginalized (especially women and youths), empowering policy makers and unlocking private sector investments for nature-based solutions.”
GEF Operational Focal Point, Ahmed Auwal Maidabino, said the project will be focusing on national priorities articulating focal areas of GEF approved for Nigeria such as climate change, land degradation and biodiversity.
“This affords us the opportunity to articulate our environmental for remediation within the ambit of the approved focal areas for Nigeria to generate employment opportunities for our people, and put a stop to the emanating threats from the environmental in the country.
Maidabino who doubles as the ministry’s Director, Planning, Research and Statistics said: “The Federal government is committed to developmental programmes and projects that will re-engineer the Nigerian economy to ensure diversification as well as increase in revenue base.”
Source: The Guardian