Benue State has been designated as one of the 19 Northern States set to receive support from a $700 million World Bank-funded initiative known as the Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes (ACReSAL) project. This initiative aims to tackle the multifaceted challenges of land degradation and climate change,leadership report.
The project’s coordinator, Victor Ama, made this announcement during the inauguration of local government Management Committees (LGPMC) in Makurdi, emphasizing the project’s mission to address environmental issues resulting from climate change and unsustainable land-use practices in Northern Nigeria.
He elaborated on the project’s vision, which includes the adoption of robust practices and policies for ecological restoration and the development of climate-resilient communities. The overarching objective of the project is to promote the adoption of sustainable landscape management practices in specific watersheds across northern Nigeria and enhance the country’s long-term capacity to support integrated climate-resilient landscape management.
Representing the Commissioner of Water Resources, Environment, and Climate Change, Ugwu Odoh, Ama revealed that the ACReSAL Project is geared towards the restoration of one million hectares of degraded land in the northern region of the country. This aligns with the Federal Government of Nigeria’s commitment to restore four million hectares of degraded land by 2030 as part of broader landscape restoration efforts.
Furthermore, the project is expected to reduce the vulnerability of numerous extremely disadvantaged individuals in northern Nigeria, empowering them to actively contribute to environmental sustainability. Beneficiaries of the ACReSAL intervention encompass vulnerable and marginalized groups, such as women, youth, the elderly, persons with disabilities, internally displaced persons, ethnic and religious minorities, farmers, and host communities across the 19 participating states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
A core focus of the project is to ensure the full involvement of these groups in community-level structures established or supported under the project. Government institutions at both federal and state levels, as well as other partners from governmental and nongovernmental agencies, will also benefit from the modernization of institutions and policy support investments.
Members of the newly inaugurated local government Management Committees, including Juliana Agaku and Simon Okopi, expressed their gratitude to the World Bank, Federal, and State Governments for selecting Benue, a region grappling with the impacts of climate change. They pledged their unwavering commitment and support to ensure the success of this critical project.