The World Bank, on Friday, gave out 11 Toyota Hilux vehicles to various ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government for the monitoring of environmental degradation and restoration projects.
It provided the vehicles through the World Bank funded $700m Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes project, known as ACReSAL. The Federal Government is the guarantor of the project.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, Ibrahim Idris, who handed the keys and documents of the vehicles to beneficiary MDAs in Abuja, said the initiative was to ensure an effective monitoring of investments by the bank.
He said, “We have desertification and erosion caused by climate change. This aspect of desertification is what ACReSAL is supposed to address. The land area is very wide, which is why we are focusing on 19 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
“That is why you need vehicles to move round to see what is happening, for when you invest money, you must put your eyes there to see what is happening. We are giving out 11 vehicles today and the aim is to ensure proper supervision and monitoring of projects.”
On beneficiaries of the vehicles, the permanent secretary said, “They include various ministries and agencies, such as water resources, remote sensing, agriculture and some departments in the Ministry of Environment. It cuts across all the stakeholder agencies in ACReSAL.”
The National Project Coordinator, ACReSAL, Abdulhamid Umar, said the project would last for six years, with the target of restoring about a million landscapes.
He said, “The ACReSAL project of the World Bank has an investment portfolio of $700m to essentially intervene and address issues surrounding landscape restoration and degradation arising from desertification and deforestation that were brought about by climate change.
“ACReSAL is a six-year project that started a year ago. Restoration of landscape has started immensely; at the last count we have been able to restore over 2,000 degraded landscapes. We have over 1,900 beneficiaries directly and the list is ongoing.
“Our expectation is that by mid-year review timeframe we would have been able to deliver more than 60 per cent of the goals at the land restoration level and the beneficiaries in total,” Umar stated.
When asked to explain the role of the World Bank in the project, he said, “The World Bank is the main investor. The money that I mentioned is a loan that will be repaid. The Federal Government is the principal guarantor of the funds and the fund is to be accessed by 19 Northern states and FCT.
“So, the bank has made the fund available, essentially to address challenges that have been brought about by climate change. The mandate is for us to recover one million landscapes before the end of the project.”
He said ACReSAL had presence in over 12 states, while others had their terms of reference being reviewed in order to ensure speedy delivery.
Umar added that, “Yobe, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina and Sokoto are states that the Sahara Desert is systematically taking over their landscapes. So intervention in those areas have started immensely. Similarly, landscape issues in states like Gombe, Plateau are also being addressed.