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UNDP picks seven states for environmental sustainability project

By Chinedum Uwaegbulam
11 July 2016   |   1:36 am
Stirred by the need to improve Nigeria’s prospects for sustained growth and development, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has selected seven States for its project, which will improve food insecurity in the country.
UNDP Flag , PHOTO: devex.com

UNDP Flag , PHOTO: devex.com

Stirred by the need to improve Nigeria’s prospects for sustained growth and development, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has selected seven States for its project, which will improve food insecurity in the country.

Known as Fostering Sustainability and Resilience for Food Security in the Savanna Zones of Northern Nigeria, the programme worth about $7million comes under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) as one of three integrated approaches that were agreed as part of the GEF sixth replenishment scheme.

The Food Security Integrated Programme will target agro-ecological systems where the need to enhance food security is linked directly to opportunities for generating global environmental benefits.

At a two- day consultation workshop held in Abuja recently, organized by UNDP, the project States named include Benue, Nassarawa, Adamawa, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano and Katsina. It comprises 14 local government areas and 70 communities in Guinea Savannah, Sudan-Sahel and Sudan Savannah.

Through programme, the GEF support will specifically promote mechanisms for multi-stakeholder coordination, planning and investment in sustainable land management at scale; with engagement of the private sector. This will be crucial for integrating ecosystem services into mainstream development investments to support agriculture and food security across multiple scales.

The lead expert, Prof. Emmanuel Oladipo said that the programme will contribute to enhancing long-term environmental sustainability and resilience of food production systems of Nigeria to achieve improved national food security.

Specifically, the meeting discussions focused around the three main components: enhancing the institutional and policy environment for achieving improved food security; scaling up sustainable agricultural practices and market opportunities for smallholder farmers in the target agro-ecological zones to increase food security even under increasing climate risks as well as addressing gender disparities and youth unemployment.

Oladipo explained that there is a growing consensus about the need to incorporate ecosystem services into resource management decisions at all levels. The programme is therefore both crucial and timely. Consistent with the programming objectives of the land degradation focal area, the GEF, through the programme, will leverage investments by other development partners to ensure that the flow of agro-ecosystem services is maintained or improved.

The programme will build on planned or existing initiatives, partnerships and institutional frameworks that address, genetic resources; the use of and access to agricultural inputs; as well as access to markets and extension services; with a view to mainstreaming sustainable land management practices for enhanced agro-ecosystem services and food insecurity.

The programme will foster supportive policies and incentives for smallholder farmers to adopt sustainable and resilient practices (including low-emission technologies and biodiversity considerations) and promote increased private sector investment in climate-resilient and low-emission food value chains.

The Executive Director, Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN), Dr. Hajia Salamatu Garba noted that smallholder farmers will be the primary beneficiaries of the programme. It will support efforts to scale-up more sustainable and more resilient approaches, practices and technologies across the targeted agro-ecological systems. These include innovative approaches to improving soil health, water resource management and vegetation cover with direct benefits to the most vulnerable land users.