Edo State governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has called for sustained collaboration among world leaders, donor groups and environmental right activists among other stakeholders in the sector, to tackle the twin challenge of desertification and drought.
Obaseki gave the charge on the occasion of the commemoration of the International Day to combat Desertification and Drought.
According to Obaseki, “Drought and Desertification are both national and regional problems that require concerted response for sustained outcomes and creative reforestation solutions will check the frequent farmer-herder clash in parts of the country.”
He noted that the negative impact of climate change is not restricted to any one state or country and urged, “transnational synergy in policy formulation and execution to mitigate its effect.”
While calling for “radical effort to re-green areas prone to desertification,” the governor noted that “policy makers must embrace proactive strategies to check practices that exploit the land and render it vulnerable.”
He urged leaders to be alive to the impact of climate change across the world, and come up with creative ways to cut back on the human factors that are fueling climate change and exacerbating its impact.
Obaseki said: “In Edo State, strategies are being deployed to boost afforestation across the state, through the promotion of plantation agriculture, green parks and gardens.
“The state government has been working with stakeholders in the oil and gas industry to stop flaring gas in line with global best practice.
“We are working with private investors to invest in plantation agriculture, the most recent is the N5 billion Urhonigbe Rubber Plantation, coming weeks after Okomu and Presco began their expansion programmes.”
The United Nations notes that “Desertification is the degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas. It is caused primarily by human activities and climatic variations. It occurs because dry land ecosystems, which cover over one third of the world’s land area, are extremely vulnerable to over-exploitation and inappropriate land use.
Poverty, political instability, deforestation, overgrazing and bad irrigation practices can all undermine the productivity of the land.’
The governor said this year’s theme: “Land has True Value-Invest in it,” dovetails with his administration’s “conviction that land as a resource for development must be efficiently managed for the good of everyone.”
He enumerated the reforms in land administration in the state to include the creation of Edo Geographic Information Service Agency (GIS); the repositioning of Edo Development and Property Agency (EDPA), the law on the protection of private property and the scrapping of Community Development Associations, amongst others.
The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed on June 17, every year to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification.
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