Nigeria has called for international support and collaboration to tackle environmental and humanitarian crises resulting from climate change in the Lake Chad Basin region. The country’s delegation at the ongoing Conference of Parties (COP14) to United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) taking place in India made the call, stressing the need for collaborative effort to end the crises.
The permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Environment, Mrs Ibukun Odusote, who spoke on behalf of the Nigerian delegation said nowhere in Africa or the whole world in which the challenges of drought, land degradation and desertification are more palpable than the Lake Chad Basin Region, adding the environmental degradation in the region has been complicated by the Boko Haram insurgency.
“The humanitarian crisis in the region is one of the world’s largest and most complex humanitarian disasters. As at January 2018 more than 2.3 million people have been displaced by the conflict. Nigeria has been pushing to see the end of these environmental and humanitarian crises in the region but more international support and collaborations are needed to strengthen the process,” she said.
According to her, desertification, land degradation and drought pose serious challenges and threats to sustainable development with far reaching impacts on human health, food security, socio-economic stability, physical infrastructure, natural resources, national and global security.
Nigeria, she pointed out, has its own fair share of the associated consequences of climate change effects resulting in poverty, unemployment and inequality, resource conflict and food insecurity, adding with the growth rate of about 2.5 per cent and with estimated180 million people, population explosion has put significant pressure on the natural resource base available with resultant decrease in fallow parcels of land, intensification in land use, declining land productivity, rapid soil losses and disruption of water resources.
“We gather here biannually to deliberate and find solutions to the challenges of drought, land degradation and desertification, but our efforts seem to be weaker than the growing environmental problems particularly in Africa.
“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 health environment to the next generation,” she reiterated.
Over 8,000 delegates, including ministers, heads of United Nations and intergovernmental bodies, youth, local governments, business leaders and representatives of non-governmental organizations are attending the conference. COP14, which ends Friday, is expected to adopt over 30 decisions and a few country-led initiatives on the actions governments will take to reverse land degradation especially over the next two years, and also beyond.