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Africa’s commitment to restore degraded hectares achievable – PMB

President Muhammadu Buhari says Africa’s ambition of restoring over 100 million hectares of degraded landscape for productive agriculture is achievable.

Speaking in Glasgow at the Climate Change Summit, COP 26, side event, President Buhari said Nigeria was ready to assume leadership of regional organisation towards achieving that ambition.

At the event on the Great Green Wall, GGW, co-hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron, the Prince of Wales, and the Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, President Buhari called on African leaders to team up together and transform the continent through agriculture.

Speaking on the theme of the event, “Accelerating land restoration in Africa, the case of the Great Green Wall initiative”, the President said it was noteworthy that the meeting was tailored towards ameliorating the problems of land degradation, desertification, depletion of the forest ecosystems and biodiversity in Africa.

President Buhari recounted that one of the major outcomes of the fourth edition of the One Planet Summit on Biodiversity, organized by the French Government in Paris, France in January 2021, was the pledge of $19.6 billion by the coalition of international communities to upscale the implementation of the Great Green Wall Initiative in Africa.

Appreciating the international partners for bringing environmental issues in Africa to the limelight, the President described the Biodiversity Summit as a direct response to the request for support by African leaders to the global communities on addressing Africa’s environmental challenges.

Highlighting Nigeria’s role in actualising the land restoration initiative, President Buhari told the side event that the country participated in drafting and harmonising the Results Framework for the Accelerator with five cardinal pillars to address the 2021- 2030 Decennial Priority Investment Plan ambition of the Great Green Wall.

According to him, the five cardinal pillars were the restoration of 100 million hectares of degraded land, sequestration of 250 million tonnes of carbon, creation of 10 million green jobs, resilient economic development in the various member states, as well as capacity strengthening and development.

President Buhari, accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministers of State for Environment, Petroleum Power, the Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK, the Group Managing Director, NNPC, toured the Nigerian Pavilion.

At the Pavilion, the President held a bilateral meeting with the Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, UNCCD, Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw.

They exchanged views on the challenges of desertification, along with climate change and loss of biodiversity in Africa, the need to recharge Lake Chad, and the UNCCD support for the GGW initiative.

President Buhari stressed that Nigeria’s approach in addressing the physical and socio-economic aspects and effects of desertification, drought and climate change would prioritise the education of the local communities and the use of technology.

Mr. Thiaw, while congratulating Nigeria’s imminent presidency of the Heads of State and Government of the Pan African Agency of the GGW, said the world was s looking up to President Buhari for leadership.

Reporting by Abdullah Bello, Editing by Tola Oguneye