UNDP-GEF gets committee on Nigeria’s small grant scheme
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has inaugurated a new National Steering Committee (NSC) to administer Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) in Nigera.
The GEF SGP was launched in 1992 following the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The programme is funded by the GEF as a corporate programme and implemented by the UNDP on behalf of the GEF partnership, and is executed by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).
SGP aims to deliver global environmental benefits in the GEF focal areas of biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation and adaptation, protection of international waters, prevention of land degradation, and phasing out of harmful chemicals through community-based approaches.
The scheme is rooted in the belief that global environmental problems can best be addressed if local people are involved and direct community benefits and ownership are generated. SGP is highly decentralized and implemented in democratic, transparent and country-driven manner facilitated by the National Coordinator.
Nigeria was admitted into the programme in 2006. In March 2009, the scheme kicked off and to date, about 116 projects have been supported in Nigeria, close to ten organisational and individual awards have been recorded as thousands of community dwellers have not only benefitted but took active part in project design and implementation.
UNDP Country Director, Dr. Pa Lamin Beyai who spoke at the Appreciation /Inauguration of the Old and New National Steering Committee (NSC) in Abuja organized by UNDP GEF Small Grant Programme in Abuja, explained that the programme supports activities of non-governmental and community-based organisations in developing countries by providing grants of up to $50,000 directly to local communities for projects in biodiversity, climate change, mitigation, adaptation, land degradation and sustainable forest management, international waters and chemicals.
According to Beyai, GEF-SGP has invested $450 million and leveraged similar levels of co-financing supporting 14,500 community- based projects in 125 countries. “The uniqueness of SGP is that it features decentralised decision making about grant awards, based on the strategic direction by a voluntary national steering committee in each participating country,” he said.
His words: “By providing financial and technical support to projects that conserve and restore the environment while enhancing people’s well-being and livelihoods, SGP demonstrates that community action can maintain the fine balance between human needs and environmental imperatives.”
The GEF-SGP National Coordinator, Mrs. Ibironke Olubamise, said that SGP Nigeria has only supported project to the tune of $4,050,000 million and raised co-financing in cash/kind of $3,937,078 within 25 states in five years for over 100 NGOs to carry out community environmental initiatives.