8th Ordinary Session Of Council Of Ministers Of Pan-African Agency Of The Great Green Wall (PAGGW)
SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, GCFR, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON AT THE 8TH ORDINARY SESSION OF THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS OF THE GREAT GREEN WALL (GGW) OF MEMBER COUNTRIES IN ABUJA ON THE 16TH OF JUNE, 2022
Let me on behalf of the Government and people of Nigeria, once again welcome you to the 8th Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of the Great Green Wall (GGW) of Member Countries.
I would like to express the profound gratitude of Nigeria to the Council of Ministers of the Great Green Wall Meeting which at its 7th Session held in Nouakchott, Mauritania designated Nigeria to host this 8th Ordinary Session.
As if the privilege of hosting this 8th Session of the Council of Ministers was not sufficient, a space at its margin has been created to flag off a Tree Planting Exercise to commemorate this event.
Also let me congratulate the Executive Secretary, Dr. Ibrahim Said, on his election and commend him and his team at the secretariat for all, their hard work and dedication.
Nigeria believes that protecting our planet, its biodiversity and climate, are essential to our collective survival. The impact of climate change is upon us all over the continent – drought and desertification increasing conflicts over pasture and water, food insecurity, loss of livelihoods and youth migration among others characterise the environment.
We are especially facing a receding Lake Chad which means that fishing, dry season farming and all other associated value chain benefits are lost or greatly reduced.
In these circumstances, we must build climate-resilient economies that effectively align with the SDGs and that have great potential for unlocking the full opportunities in different sectors of the economies, while protecting the resources for present and future generations.
To tackle these and other associated challenges, Nigeria recently signed the Nigeria Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes (ACReSAL) Project with the World Bank. The project will increase the implementation of sustainable landscape management practices in northern Nigeria and strengthen the country’s long-term enabling environment for integrated climate-resilient landscape management.
It is a 6-year programme worth over US700million strategic project that prioritizes actions within four components:
*Community Climate Resilience;
*Institutional Strengthening & Project Management and;
*Contingent Emergency Response.
We must take every opportunity and especially at meetings like this, to remind ourselves as African leaders and our development friends of what the Great Green Wall initiative is and what it is not. While the original vision was to create a wall of trees against desertification in the Sahel, the Horn and across North Africa, the Great Green wall today has a more ambitious reach. It is now a variety of sustainable land-use practices designed to combat climate change and desertification and to address food insecurity and extreme poverty.
And it is important to emphasize that for Africa, mitigation and adaptation methods for climate change must be mindful of the fact that Africa is confronted with twin challenges. The ravages of climate change but perhaps more importantly the existential problem of extreme poverty. Both, not one, must be addressed.
This is why Nigeria’s plans to attain net-zero by 2060 and our Energy Transition Plan also focus on how to creatively transit to net-zero emissions and at the same time increase access to power and high agricultural and industrial output.
With respect to forests, the point needs to be made more clearly. Africa’s rain forests absorb no less than 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide yearly. This is more than the Amazon or any other region’s rainforests.
Financing is needed to help preserve these vital carbon sinks because, without viable alternative energy sources, much of the local population still depends on burning firewood for cooking and heating.
So, there is a need to provide sustainable energy alternatives – and to compensate regional governments who in the interest of maintaining these carbon sinks for us all, have to forgo deforestation for agriculture or industrialisation.
The Decennial Priority Investment Plan (DPIP) 2021 – 2030 is an important pillar of the overall Great Green Wall project. The Plan is hinged on sustainable land management actions that emphasize ecosystem restoration, recovery and conservation of land and biodiversity, socio-economic development activities, adaptation and resilience to climate change.
The commitment of every nation will be important in meeting the deadline of the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration Agenda 2021 – 2030.
I must commend the current initiatives by the international technical and financial partners/institutions for pledging financial resources to support the implementation of the Great Green Wall Initiative.
The early disbursement of the pledged resources without stringent conditionalities would indeed see the transformation of our degraded ecosystems.
I have in my capacity as the President of the Conference of Heads of States and Government of Member States, directed the Honourable Minister of Finance of Nigeria to lead the Initiative to access the funds pledged by our partners under the Great Green Wall Accelerator.
The Minister will take appropriate States in line with the understanding we had at the Abidjan side meetings held on 9th May 2022.
Finally, on behalf of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and in fulfilment of Nigeria’s pledge to support the PAGGW, I have directed the Federal Ministry of Environment to coordinate the release of some vehicles for the use of the Pan African Agency of the Great Green Wall (PAGGW) Secretariat and Allied Agencies.
Having also fulfilled the payment of our outstanding contribution of about $654,291 only, I am also glad to pledge the sum of $550,000 only as our contribution to the building of the Great Green Wall Secretariat.
I call on other member countries to follow suit by contributing towards the building of a befitting office for the PAGGW.
Before, I conclude I would like to pay special tribute to His Excellency, former President of the Republic of Niger, Muhammadou Issoufou, who has continued to work hard, championing financial resource mobilization for the implementation process of the Great Green Wall for Sahara and the Sahel Initiative.
In a few minutes, I will be flagging off the 2022 Tree Planting Campaign and I hope that States Governments will replicate the same across their various States so that Nigeria can meet its pledge of planting 25 million trees in the next 2 years.
It is now my special privilege and pleasure to declare open the 8th Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of PAGGW.
Thank you very much.