ACReSAL Boss Hails World Bank Over Project Sponsorship
…As Perm Sec calls for Judicious use of Allocated Resources
By Faridat Salifu
National Project Coordinator of the Agro Climate Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscape (ACReSAL), Umar Abdulhamid, has revealed that the Project has an investment portfolio of $700million earmarked to intervene and address issues of land degradation arising from desertification and deforestation in states of Northern Nigeria.
The ACReSAL National Project Coordinator also highlighted the World Bank’s role as the primary investor, which includes channeling funds and loans into the initiative, pointing out that the Federal Government of Nigeria serves as the principal guarantor.
He said, the project, which has a six-year lifespan has impacted positively on benefitting states in the area of landscape restoration.
Abdulhamid, made the submissions, in his welcome address at an event organised by the Federal Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Water Resources, in collaboration with the World Bank, for the presentation of operational vehicles to implementing MDAs for the ACReSAL project for proper and adequate monitoring.
He said: “The project is a six -year lifespan project that just started a year ago. Our team has started actual implementation. Restoration of landscapes have started immensely. At the last count, we have actually been able to restore over 2,000 degraded landscapes.
“We have over 96,529 beneficiaries directly and the list is ongoing. Our expectation is that by mid-term review, we would have been able to deliver more than 60% of the goals and achievements at the land and ecosystem restoration level and the beneficiaries in total.”
The ACReSAL boss, commended the World Bank for its sponsorship of the project in the affected states, saying it is being implemented through community-driven projects.
Abdulhamid said the financial resources provided by the World Bank have been earmarked to combat the pressing challenges presented by climate change in the benefiting states.
The ACReSAL boss said: “The primary objective of the ACRESAL project is to rejuvenate and restore one million acres of landscape for community-driven projects. Presently, ACRESAL has established a formidable presence in over 12 northern states.
“The terms of reference for these states have undergone meticulous review to expedite implementation. Notably, states such as Jigawa, Yobe, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, and Borno, currently grappling with the encroachment of the Sahara Desert, have been the focus of proactive intervention efforts.
“Additionally, regions like Gombe and Plateau have embarked on addressing pressing land-related issues, including mining activities and large-scale gully erosion, in a bid to fortify agricultural practices.”
Umar regretted that some states including, Katsina, Zamfara, and Sokoto face security concerns, thereby limiting access for intervention.
He, however, assured the judicious allocation of funds for project implementation as provided by the World Bank.
While thanking the Federal Government of Nigeria for endorsing the project, the ACReSAL National Coordinator, described the project as a vital initiative with direct benefits to communities at the grassroots level.
In his Keynote Address, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, Ibrahim Yusufu Idris charged the implementing Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) of the ACReSAL Project to ensure proper supervision and monitoring of projects to achieve delivery of their mandate.
The Perm Sec, who is also the Chairman, Federal Technical Committee of the ACRESAL Project, said: “Even at personal level, if you invest your money, and do not supervise what is happening. You will lose. So you must move around to see what is happening. Where you have problems, you address these problems.”
On behalf of the recipients, the Director, Department of Climate Change, Federal Ministry of Environment Mrs. Iniobong Abiola-Awe Ph. D, thanked the World Bank and the Federal Government for embarking on the project. She assured that the vehicles would be adequately put to use for the purpose for which they were provided.
The vehicles were presented to ease the operations of the implementing Ministries and MDAs of the ACReSAL project.
Recipients of the operational vehicles are representatives from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation, Nigeria Integrated Water Resources Management Commission, department of Climate Change, Federal Ministry of Environment.
Others include; the Department of Forestry, Federal Ministry of Environment, National Space Research and Development Agency, Department of Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought Management, among others.