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Nigeria seeks more international support to tackle humanitarian crisis in Lake Chad Region

Nigeria has again appealed for more international support to confront the humanitarian disasters arising from drought, land degradation and desertification in the Lake Chad Basin Region.

Ibukun Odusote
Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Environmet, Mrs Ibukun Odusote

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, Ibukun Odusote, made the appeal on Tuesday, September 10, 2019 in her presentation at the high level segment of the 14th Session of Conference of Parties (COP14) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) that is ongoing in New Delhi, India.

Odusote, who led the Nigerian delegation to COP14, told the international audience that the humanitarian crisis in the Lake Chad Basin region was one of the world’s largest and most complex humanitarian disasters.

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“In the drylands of Nigeria, the livelihoods of over 40 million people are threatened by land degradation and desertification, thus raising the spectre of food insecurity and spurring deadly conflicts between farmers and herders overuse of dwindling natural resources,” she said.

The permanent secretary said that the environmental degradation in the region had been complicated by the Boko Haram insurgency which began in 2013.

“As at January 2018, more than 2.3 million people have been displaced by the conflict,” Odusote noted, saying that more international support and collaborations were needed to strengthen the process.

She said that efforts aimed at addressing desertification and land degradation in Africa “seem to be weaker than the growing environmental problems.”

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“We cannot translate our dreamed Land Degradation Neutrality Targets into reality with slim efforts, resources and commitments.

“With the little time available to us, we must collectively strengthen our efforts, resources and political commitments to combat land degradation, desertification and hand over a healthy environment to the next generation,” Odusote said.

The permanent secretary said that Nigeria was committed to restoring four million hectares of degraded landscape, while preparations had reached advance stage for the issuance of the Third Sovereign Green Bond in an innovative finance effort to tackle environmental degradation.

Over 8,000 delegates, including UN Deputy Secretary General, Ms Amina Mohammed; UNCCD Executive Secretary, Ibrahim Thiaw; ministers and heads of UN agencies are attending the conference, whose theme is: “Investing in Restoration to Unlock Opportunities.”

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COP14, which ends on Friday, is expected to adopt over 30 decisions and a few country-led initiatives on the actions that governments will take to reverse land degradation especially over the next two years and beyond. 

By Wale Ojetimi

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