Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, Mrs Ibukun Odusote, has stressed the need for participatory approach in the implementation of the programme of the Great Green Wall (GGW) in Nigeria.
Odusote said this during the First Stakeholders Consultative Forum of the National Alliance For the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI) in Nigeria held in Abuja on Wednesday, December 4, 2019.
The two-day forum is being organised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in conjunction with the National Agency for the Great Green Wall.
Odusote, represented by Mr Peter Daniang, Director, HRM in the ministry, said the forum of the GGWSSI was a platform on which much needed participatory approach to the implementation of the GGW programme was hinged.
“Participatory bottom-to-top approach is now the in-thing for any meaningful and effective implementation of projects and programmes of this nature that will ensure sustainability.
The Permanent Secretary said the main objective of the forum was to further strengthen the processes of identifying more stakeholders at the grassroots necessary for the effective implementation of the GGWSSI in Nigeria.
“Specifically, the forum will seek to ensure coherent and responsive action of the GGWSSI, engage the stakeholders in the implementation process, coordinate and synergise with relevant ministries, national authorities, state institutions within the GGW intervention areas.
“(It will) develop strategies and plans for achieving the GGWSSI laudable goals and develop and share communication and useful information about the GGWSSI.”
Odusote said she believed the positive outcomes of the deliberations and interactions would give incisive direction to the implementation process of the GGW programme in Nigeria.
Dr Bukar Hassan, Director-General, National Agency for the Great Green Wall, said Implementation of the agency’s programme required the participating of all stakeholders.
Hassan said the stakeholders included government, private sector and individuals such as farmers at the community level.
“We must work together to get it right.
“One way of making sure we work together and get it right is to come together chat between ourselves, share information.
“So, when we go back we can have enough knowledge to push our programme forward.
“The key issue in our project is sustainability; what you put down today must be sustained and sustainability is not done by people around here.
“It is done by the people who the job is being done for.
“Therefore, we need to reach them down there and it is a known fact that in our society NGOs and CSOs are the ones who directly work with the community and that is why we brought them here to share our knowledge together.”
He said he was optimistic that the collective interest of participants to combat the problems of the Nigerian dry lands in a participatory manner would provide the push required for successful deliberations.
Mr Chris Magero, Programme Officer, IUCN, said the IUCN was committed to continue to support the countries of the GGW including Nigeria to address the issues that surround land degradation.
Magero said this would be achieved by influencing policies and coming up with actions that would be able to truly achieve an impact within the GGW.
“Over the years we have been addressing the issues of environmental degradation across the Sahel. It has taken many shapes over many years, but to this point we are looking to having impact across the Sahel.
“IUCN is working in different continents to address the issues around society that include food, water and security, land degrading and human wellbeing across the society.
“It is indeed our pleasure as IUCN to be able to contribute to this process and we hope that through this process you will be able to find solutions that address the issues that plague the society within auspices of the GGW.”
He said he hoped that by the end of the programme concrete solutions that would enable society to address the issues would be arrived at.
According to him not only addressing these issues but mechanisms that will enable government to work together with civil society and other actors to actively address the issues of land degradation.