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Climate change, coastal erosion now a priority- FG

The Federal Government has reiterated its commitments at tackling environmental challenges as well as ensuring the safety of lives and properties of Nigerians and sustaining the environments for unhindered socio-economic activities.

The Minister of Environment, Mr. Ibrahim Jibril stated this at the 2nd Mid Term Review (MTR) of the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) in Enugu.

The minister who was represented by the permanent secretary in the ministry, Dr. Shehu Ahmed said the new national Policy on the Environment as approved by the Buhari Administration has issues such as climate change, coastal erosion, desertification, pollution and insecurity as priority actions.

He said it was for this reason that NEWMAP which was at the instance of Federal Government of Nigeria and with the approval of World Bank Board is supporting the country towards achieving greater environmental and economic security.

“NEWMAP was specifically designed to support the country in addressing the age long and yet worsening problems of erosion and land degradation, especially to reduce vulnerability to ravaging gully erosion in the targeted watershed.

He said NEWMAP is to fund investments in the areas of civil works, vegetative land management, watershed protection measures and community-led adaptive livelihood initiatives, adding “The sustainability of these investments will be reinforced to improve governance, regulatory compliance, environmental monitoring etc, thus strengthening Nigeria’s capacity to promote and implement climate-resilient, low-carbon development.

He noted that the Mid Term Review is important for its successful future project implementation and completion as well as for the presentation of the results accomplished.

“Between February 2016 and now, the project has made remarkable progress. Civil works implementations in 21 gully erosion sites across the first mover state is at an average of 85% completion after compulsory payment of compensation to 1,264 Project Affected Persons (PAPs).

The minister however called for the strengthening of the project institutional arrangement to ensure smooth implementation of planned activities.

“I urge all participating State Governments to suspend the movement of specialized/trained project staff especially now that the project is the additional financing pending the completion of the Review of the Project Implementation Manual (PIM), which will also be carried out after the MTR.

According to him, “This is in order not to jeopardize the success of the Additional Financing.

“The task ahead of NEWMAP to finance State-led interventions to prevent and reverse land degradation is critical to the economic growth and development of the Buhari administration”, he said.

Earlier in an address the TTL, Dr. Amos Abu said NEWMAP is happy with the implementation progress in the country.

Abu stated that the last four years of the project was largely positive as most states have paid their counterpart funds.

“This engagement is also organized to see how states meet up with their own part of the counterpart financing of projects”, he said.

“The second MTR is an appropriate time to take a look at the eight year implementation of the NEWAP.

“This is the right time to associate with the incredible positive achievements of the projects and also take stock to see if there are areas of challenges or by way of improvement to enable projects perform satisfactorily.

He added that NEWMAP was not designed to address all gully issues in the country but to look at the critical ones and bring to bear the best of engineering design, bioremediation measure and community mobilization.

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