ACReSAL: Minister Calls for Increased Collaboration to Save Nigeria’s Environment

ACReSAL: Minister Calls for Increased Collaboration to Save Nigeria’s Environment

Bennett Oghifo

Minister of Environment, Balarabe Abbas Lawal has stated that addressing climate change is of keen interest to President Bola Tinubu, adding that the president is concerned about the rapid encroachment of desertification in the northern parts of the country.

Lawal also emphasized on the urgency to work hard in order to recover and reclaim lands lost to desertification.

He made these emphasis recently while addressing a team of environment experts from the World Bank, including Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes (ACReSAL) officials and other stakeholders at the ACReSAL Federal Project Management Unit (FPMU) in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.

The Minister also stated that “an increased collaboration among the Ministries of Environment, Agriculture and Food Security, Water Resources and Sanitation, as well as the World Bank, will result in the success of the ACReSAL Project.

“We are not doing this because we have a job, we want to save our environment.” 

While revealing the partnership between the Nigerian government and the World Bank which has led to a multi-institutional machinery to stem the fast-paced degradation of landscapes of the country’s northern region, the Minister added that ACReSAL will be pivotal in facilitating the much needed inter agency cooperation among the ministries, as well as within the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

This will address pervasive issues like high degradation of natural resources, poor agricultural productivity, climate risks, desertification, increased poverty rates, conflicts, violence, and weak institutional capacity.

ACReSAL, which the Minister said involves several federal and state Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), local governments, communities and civil societies, will also provide solutions to desertification, flooding, climatic variability, deforestation, extensive cultivation, overgrazing, bush burning, fuel wood extraction, charcoal production, faulty irrigation systems, improper road drainage design and construction.

The various MDAs include those responsible for planning, economy, finance, works, agriculture, water resources, forests, transport, power, emergency response, as well as those focused on climate and hydrological information or watershed/basin regulation.

While expressing optimism that ACReSAL would deliver on the mandate, having a better understanding of collaboration, the Minister gave assurances to the National Project Coordinator of ACReSAL, Mr Abduhamid Umar that the Ministry of Environment will make provisions for the needed support.

Responding, Mr. Umar said the team was elated by the Minister’s presence which, he said, clearly demonstrates his love for the environmental sector and ACReSAL, one of the key deliverables of his ministry.

He also informed the team that in previous events, the Minister had affirmed President Tinubu’s awareness of ACReSAL and its mandate.

Task Team leader of the ACReSAL Project and Senior Environmental Specialist, World Bank, Dr. Joy Iganya

Agene, in her remarks, said the World Bank Task Team was present to jointly receive the Minister with the FPMU team and noted that the successes achieved so far by the ACReSAL Project is an indication of the benefits and support it has enjoyed from the Minister.

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