By Haruna Gimba
President Muhammadu Buhari Monday in Abidjan urged the World Bank, African Development Bank and other partners to support the One Planet Summit initiative and activate the $19 billion pledge.
He spoke at a side event he convened at the UN Conference of Parties, COP15, in his capacity as the President of the Conference of Heads of State and Governments of the member states of the PAGGW.
He said the fund will be utilized for land restoration, tree planting, development of climate resilience infrastructure and investments in small and medium sized farms.
President Buhari also underscored 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 pledged by donors for the activities of the Pan African Great Green Wall Agency (PAGGW).
He said: “The inter basin transfer of water from Central Africa to the lake Chad should be taken seriously,” asking 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.
“As it is at the present,” 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.
This has led to migration to Europe by many, creating problems for you over there. These should engage your attention as a committee,” he said.
At the select meeting, which included International/Development Partners, President Buhari said $19 billion pledged fund will also support small holder farmers, create institutional framework to enhance security, stability and governance, and capacity building.
President Buhari requested more support for The One Planet Summit initiative, and the political will to actualize the mandate.
“It is on this note that on behalf of member States, I welcome The One Planet Summit Initiative that pledges $19 Billion to support the activities of the PAGGW which necessitated this very important engagement with you this morning.
“The purpose of this meeting therefore is to draw your attention to this pledge and to inform you formally, that member states want to trigger the process for accessing the funding by utilizing the GGW Accelerator window mainly to address the following: Land restoration and tree planting, Investment in small and medium sized farms/support to small holder farmers, Develop climate resilience infrastructure, Institutional framework to enhance security, stability and governance, and Capacity Building.
“I therefore call on you especially the World Bank, African Development Bank and the One Planet Summit Initiative to support this drive,” he said.
President Buhari also called on the multilateral institutions to set up a task team to work with PAGGW.
“I will further request the partners, particularly the United Nations Conference to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and One Planet Summit to advise on a suitable Financial Consultant for the PAGGW that can coordinate the process under the auspices of the UNCCD and PAGGW in a transparent manner.
“It is my hope that the parties to this meeting will give us maximum cooperation in this regard and make good their pledge to support Africa’s drive to addressing these climate challenges.
“Finally, I will also direct Nigeria’s Minister of Environment to convene a meeting of Council of Ministers of member states to brief them on the outcome of this brief meeting.”