By Chika Okeke, Abuja –
The European Union has vowed to spend 20 percent of its 2014- 2020 budget, totalling about €14 billon in addressing the challenges of climate change and biodiversity in Nigeria and 20 developing countries.
The representative of the EU delegation to the African Union, Mr Pietro Nardi stated this yesterday at the opening of regional steering committee meeting of the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI), organised by the National Agency for the Great Green Wall (NAGGW) in Abuja.
According to him, “Climate change and its impact on land degradation is a common challenge”.
He noted that by 2030 that up to 60 percent of African population could be vulnerable to droughts and other climate risks mainly affecting the livelihoods of farmers and pastoralists that could negatively transform rural landscapes.
Also speaking, the director general of NAGGW, Mr Ahmed Goni regretted that climate change phenomenon in Nigeria has worsened the problems of land degradation, drought and desertification, leading to natural resources depletion and reduction of Lake Chad by 93.9 percent.
This he said introduced extreme poverty upon the people in the affected areas adding that it rendered the population vulnerable to all kinds of conflict including herdsmen- farmers’ conflict.
On his part, the minister of environment, Mallam Ibrahim Usman Jibril stated that GGWSSI has repositioned itself as a game changer for Africa by facilitating and addressing global emerging issues like restoration and Sustainable Land Management (SLM).
Jibril who was represented by the director of general services in the ministry, Mr Emmanuel Asuquo maintained that Nigeria is experiencing the social consequences of land degradation which culminated into security challenges in the North East adding that it’s imperative to support AU initiative.
He pointed out that the political will of national governments towards an effective implementation of the GGW programmes, emission reduction, reduction of poverty, youth and women unemployment as well as lasting peace and security should be of utmost economic importance.