FG tinkers projects for GEF’s $20.6million fund
Towards tackling its most pressing environmental problems, the Federal Government and stakeholders have begun the assessment of projects for submission under the country’s Global Environmental Facility (GEF) allocation and projects implementation.
Under the new, four-year investment cycle, known as GEF-7, Nigeria has an allocation of $20.65 million in the $4.1 billion replenishment by governments of the GEF’s trust fund.
GEF-7 is the first funding after Global Goals of Agenda 2030, and the Paris landmark agreement that will safeguard the world’s forests, land, water, climate, and oceans, build green cities, protect threatened wildlife, and tackle new environmental threats like marine plastic pollution.
Essentially, the Federal Ministry of Environment in collaboration with the GEF organised a two–day National Dialogue recently in Abuja, attended by participants drawn from federal and state ministries of environment, the academia, CBOs/NGOs, development partners and other stakeholders, to develop projects in-line with specific national objectives and priorities.
The participants agreed that Nigeria needs to develop a national environmental action plan and put in place national environmental statistical system urgently and there is need for a Technical Needs Assessment for Climate Change in Nigeria.
They also said, there should be efforts to address the lack of synergy among Nigerian Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for the implementation of Environmental projects; and need for organized private sector representation in future meetings.
Specifically, the stakeholders deliberated on some projects that will be improved upon for presentation to GEF council. The projects include; the Integrated Environmentally Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste in Nigeria; the Enabling Activities for the Review and Update of National Implementation Plan for Stockholm Convention, which is in line with Article 7(1)c and Decision SC-2/7.
Others are ‘Integrated Approach to Conserve Biodiversity and Sustainable Land Use for multiple Environmental Benefits in Nigeria; and Promoting Clean Energy Technologies for Sustainable SMEs for Development in Nigeria as well as West African Area Coastal Erosion Management Project (WACA) that has a funding of $350 million.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Environment, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, said the ministry would do its best to provide effective and efficient environmental framework to sustain the nation’s focus on sustainable development in the environmental sector.
Odusote said that the ministry would soon release its documents on the state of environment report and the reviewed National Policy on Environment.
“Over the years, the issue of environmental statistics has not been placed on the National Bureau of Statistics data base which has become a fundamental issue that must be critically addressed.
“Hence, discussions have been held to mainstream environmental statistics into National Planning for Developmental purposes,” Odusote said.
The GEF Operational Focal Point, Federal Ministry of Environment, Alhaji Auwal Maidabino, who is also the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics in the ministry, said “Nigeria could benefit from the various impact programmes of GEF as well as other projects based on the country needs, covered by the Star allocation of 20.65 million dollars allocated to Nigeria,” he said.
According to him, GEF National Dialogue Meeting is organised to facilitate the conceptualisation of projects for implementation in the GEF-7 cycle for GEF CEO’s endorsement.
Maidabino said that the meeting also marked the beginning of Nigeria’s implementation of the GEF-7 cycle which star allocation stood at 20.65 million dollars.
“This will afford us the opportunity to articulate our environmental challenges for remediation within the ambit of three focal areas approved for Nigeria.
“The three focal areas are climate change, land degradation and biodiversity,” Maidabino said.
Mrs Ibukun Odusote, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, s National Coordinator, Global Environmental Facility-Small Grant Programme (GEF-SGP), Mrs Ibironke Olubamise, said that over $5 million was spent under the programme on 141 environmental related projects in 27 states in the last 10 years.
“The total number of projects supported by GEF-SGP since 2009 was 141 in about 200 communities in 27 states,’’ she said, adding that the grant was used to fund projects on biodiversity, climate change, land degradation, persistent organic pollutants and international waters.
“GEF-SGP provides grant, technical and coordination support to poor, marginalised and vulnerable communities.
“This is through non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and corporate body organisations (CBOs) to implement local environmental initiatives.
“Funded by the GEF, SGP is implemented by UN Development Programme (UNDP), on behalf of the GEF partnership and is executed by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS),’’ she said. The coordinator said the GEF-SGP also supported alternative livelihood activities that helped to reduce pressure on the environment and enhanced the quality of lives of the target communities, including widows and the aged.