President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the World Bank, African Development Bank, and other partners to support the One Planet Summit initiative and activate the 19 billion dollar pledge, which will be utilized for land restoration, tree planting, development of climate resilience infrastructure and investments in small and medium sized farms.
President Buhari said the importance of recharging Lake Chad, now down to 10 percent of its water volume, as eleven Sahel African states discuss ways and means of accessing and utilizing 19 billion dollar pledged by donors for the activities of the Pan African Great Green Wall Agency, PAGGW.
Speaking at a side event he convened at the ongoing UN Conference Of Parties, COP15,as the President of the Conference of Heads of Stated and Governments of member states of the PAGGW, President Buhari said the inter basin transfer of water from Central Africa to the lake Chad should be taken seriously.
He asked the secretariat of the Agency, funders and the soon-to-be appointed consultant to carry out the measure as a way of restoring the socio-economy of the more than 30 million people of the Lake Chad basin area.
The President informed the meeting the drying up of the Lake Chad had destroyed fish farming, animal husbandry, and crop agriculture, leading to social and economic dislocation with serious consequences for peace in the basin area,adding that the situation had led to migration to Europe by many, and creating problems for that continent.
At the select meeting, which included International/Development Partners, President Buhari said the 19 billion dollar pledged fund would also support small holder farmers, create institutional framework to enhance security, stability, governance, and capacity building.
President Buhari explained that Nigeria, Senegal, Niger, Sudan, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Mali, Eritrea, Djibouti, Burkina Faso, and Chad were facing dire and present danger due to the devastating effect of desertification and drought, which is impacting negatively on the security of their communities and the livelihood of their people.
The Deputy Secretary General of the UN, Amina Mohammed, described the meeting as a new era in the Great Green Wall Programme, and demanded from the agency, the 11 African Nations involved, as well as the group of donors under One Planet Summit, to move proactively with scale and urgency to set up government governance structure, focus on land restoration, put in place the digital backbone to connect farmers with markets, and ensure that the programmes and activities of the PAGGW were well rooted in individual national plans.
Reporting by Abdullah Bello editing by Marian Benjamin, Omotola Oguneye