The Global Environmental Facility’s Small Grants Programme (GEF-SGP) implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) says it has supported 150 projects with over $6 million in Nigeria.
Mrs Ronke Olubamise, the National Coordinator of the GEF-SEP, made this known at a stakeholder workshop on the GEF-SGP Country Programmes Strategy for the GEF Operational Phase 7 in Abuja.
Olubamise said that the projects were implemented in 25 states from 2009 till date, adding that the projects were also co-financed with $6 million by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other donors.
“We have spent six million dollars on the projects and got co-financing from NGOs that are implementing them in the communities and other donors; 25 states have benefited so far in Nigeria,” she said.
She listed some of the states that benefited as Benue, Akwa-Ibom, Lagos, Kwara, Kogi, Osun, Kaduna, Katsina, Bauchi, Imo, Enugu and Anambra.
She said that five priority projects being implemented by SGP in Nigeria include conservation of biodiversity, climate change, prevention of land degradation, persistent organic pollutant and protection of international waters.
Olubamise said that SGP would still support projects in any of the five projects in 2020, adding that more than 500,000 poor rural dwellers have benefited directly from all its projects over the years.
She said that SDG had always aligned its priority projects with the Federal Government priority in order to get its support for smooth implementation.
She said that some of the challenges facing SGP were monitoring and evaluation, operational vehicles, shortage of staff, accommodation, partnerships, knowledge management and poor progress report from some organisations handling communities’ projects.
“Over 20 projects were stopped due to progress reports, some came late, and some were not well written, this is one of the challenges we are facing,’’ the national coordinator said.
Obisesan, the focal person of the Ministry of Environment, said over 125 countries including Nigeria were participating in SGP.
She said that SGP, which started operation in Nigeria in 2009, had supported over 150 projects in 25 states in the different focal areas to date.
She said in the last 10 years of supporting environmental initiatives, over 16 national and international awards have been received by some of the projects and individuals who have implemented the projects.
“SGP features decentralised decision-making grant awards based on strategic direction outlined in the Country Programme Strategy by a voluntary National Steering Committee in each participating country.
According to Obisesan, the principal objectives of GEF- SGP is to develop community-level strategies and implement technologies that can reduce threats to the global environment if they are replicated over time.
“To build partnerships and networks of stakeholders to support and strengthen community, NGO and national capacities to address global environmental problems and promote sustainable development.
“To ensure that conservation and sustainable development strategies and projects that protect the global environment are understood and practiced by communities and other key stakeholders.
“SGP is rooted in the belief that global environmental problems can best be addressed if local people are involved and there are direct community benefits and ownership.
“SGP is convinced that with small amounts of funding, members of local communities can undertake activities that will make a significant difference in their lives and environment with global benefits to complement the top-down, expert-reliant development interventions.’’
By Francisca Oluyole