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Benue State to Benefit From $700Million World Bank Project for Climate Resilience

By Rashidat Oladele

Benue State has been selected as among some states of Northern Nigeria to benefit from the $700 million World bank assisted project for Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Land scapes (ACReSAL) fund.

The ACReSAL project, which is supported by the World Bank aims to address the problems of land degradation and climate change on a multifaceted scale in 19 states of the north.

Project coordinator of Benue State ACReSAL, Victor Ama, disclosed this during the inauguration of local government Management Committees (LGPMC) in Makurdi for effective implementation of the project.

Ama explained that the mission of the project is to address environmental challenges arising from Climate Change and poor land-use practices in Northern Nigeria.

He stated that among beneficiaries of the ACReSAL intervention project are farmers, host communities, women, youth, the elderly, people with disabilities, internally displaced people, members of ethnic and religious minorities, and people living within the 19 participating states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The coordinator who represented the Commissioner of Water Resources, Environment and Climate Change, Ugwu Odoh said, the ACReSAL Project will help restore one million hectares of degraded land in the northern part of the country, which will also contribute to the Federal Government of Nigeria’s objective/commitment of restoring four million hectares of degraded land set for broader landscape restoration by 2030.

The Project Coordinator further stated that the Project will also help reduce the vulnerability of millions of the extremely poor people in northern Nigeria by strengthening their roles in line with achieving environmental sustainability.

“The project development objective is to increase the implementation of sustainable landscape management practices in targeted watersheds in northern Nigeria and strengthen Nigeria’s long-term enabling environment for integrated climate-resilient landscape management. The vision is to also have strong practices and policies on ecological restoration and a climate change resilient community

“The ACReSAL Project will help restore one million hectares of degraded land in the northern part of the country, which will also contribute to the Federal Government of Nigeria’s objective/commitment of restoring four million hectares of degraded land set for broader landscape restoration by 2030.

“Additionally, by enhancing their own involvement in accordance with attaining environmental sustainability, this project would enable millions of severely impoverished people in northern Nigeria feel less vulnerable. This project will help ensure full participation in community level structures established or supported under the project,” he stated.

In their separate speeches shortly after the inauguration, Juliana Agaku and Simon Okopi, who are members of the newly established local government Management Committees, lauded the World Bank, the Federal and State Governments for selecting Benue, and vowed to support the project’s success.

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